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Leveraging the Planner as a Business Tool

Owning a business is an exercise in navigating competing priorities.

Team members, clients, contractors, and vendors need attention, information, and vision. Ideas and opportunities need to be investigated and evaluated. And none of it happens in a vacuum. It happens in the context of a shifting market, industry changes, and, of course, the needs of your family.

What’s a business owner to do?

We’ve seen the Full Focus Planner create transformation for people from all walks of life. But, truthfully, we designed it with business owners in mind. It connects goal achievement with personal daily productivity. In business, that kind of clarity is essential for effectiveness.

We’ll unpack two aspects of applying the Full Focus Planner to your business. But first, let’s review the system behind the Planner.

The Full Focus System

The Full Focus System is composed of three elements: vision, alignment, and execution. Vision is deciding what to do. Alignment is organizing to do it. And execution is getting it done.

Most organizations focus solely on execution. Their teams are constantly in overdrive, trying to get more and more done in less and less time. Their people are busy and tired. Sideways energy is normal. Time and money go to waste.

The key is to shift from focusing on efficiency to effectiveness. We want to do the right things, not just more things. And that means focusing on vision and alignment.

Vision defines a destination. It keeps us motivated. Like a true north, it guides our decisions. Without a vision, people and businesses drift to places they never would have chosen.

But vision without alignment doesn’t work. Alignment operationalizes vision. It ensures your team’s daily activity advances your company goals. It connects your budget and your time to the future you’re creating.

These ideas—vision, alignment, and execution—are the framework behind the Planner. When leveraged to its fullest, the Full Focus Planner will help you envision your future, align your resources, and execute your priorities. 

Let’s consider two aspects of leveraging it as a business owner.

Personal Use of the Planner

Everyone needs a tool to establish and protect their priorities. The Full Focus Planner does both. We like to say it’s an offensive and a defensive tool. Here’s what I mean.

Offensive

The Planner is an offensive tool, because it prompts you to set annual priorities and connect them to daily action. 

It starts with setting annual goals. Our SMARTER Goals® framework turns aspirations into true goals. Effective goal setting might be the most essential tool in the toolbelt of a leader. And it’s one we’re rarely taught. Clients enter our coaching program each year who have never truly set goals, for themselves or for their business. You can only move toward a future you can imagine.

Next, you need to begin breaking down those goals into smaller actions. The Quarterly Preview shifts your focus from an annual to a quarterly view. It forces you to focus on just a few goals at a time, making achieving them feel more manageable. It guides you to look back and learn from your last quarter and look ahead to plan your next quarter.

The Weekly Preview narrows your scope even further. It allows you to begin each week with clarity and direction about what you want to get done. It’s an antidote for the anxiety of feeling as though you’re constantly in reaction mode. This tool is probably my favorite in the Planner, because it helps me determine how I’m going to happen to my week, instead of letting my week happen to me.

Finally, the Daily Big 3. The idea here is simple: set three daily priorities. As a business owner, that might seem impossible. But leveraging this tool every day forces you to get clear about what matters most to the performance of your company. No more distractions. No more wasted energy.

Goals set your vision. The Quarterly Preview and Weekly Preview keep you aligned. And the Daily Big 3 keeps you accountable as you execute.

Defensive

The Planner is also a defensive tool in the way it protects your priorities on an ongoing basis. The two most important defensive tools in your Planner are rituals and the Ideal Week.

Rituals automate the behaviors that make for a successful day. This might include self-care habits, because the energy you bring to your company matters. It might include maintenance tasks like clearing your inboxes or reviewing your calendar, so they don’t become distractions further in the day. It might include routine tasks you need to complete to care for your family. 

We suggest four rituals: the Morning Ritual, the Workday Startup Ritual, the Workday Shutdown Ritual, and the Evening Ritual. We’ve written extensively on each elsewhere.

Your Ideal Week forms a template for how you want your weeks to run. Business owners are particularly prone to letting their calendars become a to-do list for everyone else. Meetings run amuck. And if we’re not careful, important work, like ideation and vision casting, gets overrun by urgent work week after week. Your Ideal Week allows you to protect your priorities and better leverage your no.

Team Use of the Planner

At the most basic level, the Planner equips your entire team with the same suite of tools. That means they’re all receiving the same offensive and defensive benefits explored above. It also means they share the same language and goal-achievement orientation. In other words, the Full Focus Planner shapes your team culture.

But you can also better integrate it into your wider team by adopting the following methods.

We suggest teams hold what we call a weekly focus meeting—what others might call a weekly sprint. These meetings are organized around the Weekly Preview. Teams share wins, complete an After-Action Review, and share priorities for the coming week.

If you want to keep it simple to save time, you can have your team share updates on last week’s priorities and identify their priorities for the coming week. Identifying priorities prompts alignment. Sharing them creates accountability.

Finally, the Planner can be used to operationalize your strategic plan. I’ve seen and been part of too many businesses where strategic plans collect dust on a shelf or in a hard drive. For a strategic plan to work, it has to guide daily action for every person in your company. 

SMARTER Goals and the Quarterly Preview will be especially essential as you share and track your progress toward your vision.

The Full Focus Planner is for business owners who want more for their businesses and more for their lives. It’s a tool that brings transformation to individuals and to entire teams. It’s not always easy, but it is simple. And you can start today.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use and believe will add value to our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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