Imagine that you are going on a road trip with your family. You are meeting friends in a different part of the country. You have agreed when and where you will meet.
You put plans in place to reach your destination on time. You work out how long it is going to take to get there, and what time you need to leave. You pack food and activities for the kids.
About an hour into the trip you decide you want to stop for coffee. You consider how far you have already driven and how far you still need to go. You recalculate how much time it will take to get to your destination from your current location. Maybe the traffic has been good so far so there is time to stop for that coffee. Maybe there was a traffic jam and you need to adjust your plan. You ring your friends, agree to meet at a slightly later time, and you make it to your destination at the adjusted time.
Now consider your business or work goals. You set a plan for where you want your business to be, or work accomplished, by a certain date (maybe 1 year, maybe one month). After a period of time you stop and measure your results to date. Am I on track to meet my target? What do I need to start doing to reach my goal? What am I going to stop doing so that I make faster progress? What has changed in the environment around me? Do I need to adjust my plan? Communicate/agree that change of plan with your staff/boss, then work to the new plan.
Measuring your results might be number of goals achieved, financial results against budget or KPI’s actual to target. Unless your plan contains measurable goals, you will find it difficult to see how you are tracking against your plan.
Plan – Measure – Plan