If you fail to plan you are planning to fail”- Benjamin Franklin
If there ever were a group of people who need successful planning, it’s the British Special Air Service. Poor planning can jeopardize a mission, and for the SAS soldiers this could mean death. I’ve always had huge admiration for anyone who chooses to dedicate their lives to protecting their country, the SAS have always stuck out for me as being extra-extraordinary.
You see, to be a member of the Special Air Service, you have to be in the elite of the elite soldiers- highly skilled, impeccably strong both physically and mentally, demonstrating almost super human levels of grit, resilience and strength.
I’ve been reading SAS- Who Dares Wins- a great read as 4 ex-SAS soldiers share their first-hand accounts of life in the special forces, all the way from the grueling selection process to bloody battles behind enemy lines.
One of my biggest takeaways is a 5-step process SAS soldiers use to plan a mission. In fact, I’ve been applying the 5 steps when planning my own personal and professional goals over the last few weeks and found it hugely helpful for creating a clear plan of action. These are the same 5 steps that you too can take to plan your strategies, whether you need to market your business or plan a party…
1. Determine your mission.
The first step is to get super clear on what your mission (objective) is.
It’s important when capturing your mission, it meet’s the following criteria. Is it:
- Specific? Is your clearly defined? Lose weight isn’t specific. Be 5 kilos lighter is.
- Measurable? Will you be able to clearly measure the success of your mission once carried out? How will you measure Success?
- Timed? What time frame do you wish to achieve your goal in?
2. Identify threats.
What threats exist that could make achieving your goal difficult?
Although your threats may not be as life-threatening as the SAS member’s, don’t skip this stage. Becoming aware of potential threats (perhaps distractions, lack of time, procrastination, negativity) will help you to execute your plan with higher levels of awareness meaning you can have strategies in place for minimizing the likeliness and impact of threats.
3. What assets are available to you- financial, physical, intellectual?
What assets are available to you? In my Coaching sessions, I ask a similar question- What resources do you have available to you?
Resources could include your available finances, the right contacts, your personal skills like resourcefulness and creativity. It’s easy to overlook the resources we have available to us but by asking this question and writing down all the assets/resources you can think of, you can become aware of what cards you have to play with. This helps to instill faith that you’re not alone and without support.
4. Evaluate previous experiences.
There’s no need to reinvent the Wheel. Looking back at past, similar experiences and using strategies that have proven effective before can save you time when creating a plan of action.
But what if this Mission is completely new?
Model what has worked for others. Success leaves clues! Even if you haven’t achieved this goal before, research people who have achieved it. What course of action worked for them? How could you repeat this for achieving your own goals? Who do you know who has what you want and how could you find out what worked for them?
5. Determine the best course of action.
Having answered the previous 4 questions, you’re now in a good place to determine the best course of action. You’re clear on WHAT the mission is, potential threats, you’re available resources and past successful strategies, all that is left now is to decide the best course of action…
These questions will help you…
- What steps could you take to achieve your goals?
- In what sequence will you need to take the actions?
- What step do you feel will give you the biggest result?
Now you have determined your best course of action there is only one thing left to do, execute your plan! Be brave and take action outside of your comfort zone, bear the SAS’s motto in mind; He who dares wins.
Of course, She who dares, also wins. You’ve got this!