“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Despite becoming a bit of a cliché, this quote is just as relevant to businesses today as it was when it was first spoken.
Knowing where your systems or processes might fail is in your company’s best interests. Not only can this kind of planning increase productivity, it will also reduce your costs, improve safety and make your customers happier in the long-term.
So, how do you go about identifying early failure points?
1. Start with definitions. Define roles clearly so there is no confusion about which teams own tasks, who reports on performance, what success looks like, etc. If you don’t have a plan in place for your project, you set yourself up to fail.
2. Run simulations. This isn’t possible in all situations, but if you can simulate the environment, do so. This can help you to see what stands up in the real world and what doesn’t.
3. Ensure you have support across the board. Without support from the top down, your project is doomed from the start – conduct meetings with staff representing a healthy cross-section of seniority and function to gauge the appetite for what is being proposed.
4. Take on feedback. Once you have liaised with various stakeholders and teams, integrate the feedback into what you’re doing. Many minds in the planning process will help you to assess risk from a wide range of perspectives.
5. Agree on time frames. Miscommunication can often mean that time frames are not entirely clear, which can give your project a false failure.
6. Communicate with your stakeholders. Being BAU busy often means that you let communications slip; be mindful of forgetting to engage with the people that are closely involved in the process, they will help to make sure things are going to plan.
If you’ve adequately prepared for failure, you are setting yourself on the best path for success. If you don’t succeed, however, remember that a failed project doesn’t always mean a failure for the business – consider the learnings, the processes and the outcomes that develop along the road.
If you’re struggling with planning adequately for your business, please do get in touch. I love getting knee-deep in business planning to help businesses succeed – give me a call on 0409 829 123.