You Can’t Win Without a Plan
BY NATHAN JAMAIL
IT WOULD BE SAFE TO SAY THAT THE NEW ORLEANS
Saints had a game plan before the start of this year’s Super
Bowl. Because they were committed to the plan and executed it, they are now the Super Bowl champions.
The “Who Dat Nation” never accepted the idea that
they would lose to the Colts. Instead, they developed a
game plan that was different from the conventional plan,
such as using an onside kick to start the second half.
I recommend that you take a leaf from the Saints’
playbook and take control of your business. Create a game
plan that describes the basics: what, when, how and why to
achieve a specific set of goals. A game plan is all about taking control of the business and ensuring that others don’t
affect the business negatively.
Following are four key steps to get you started on a
game plan for your enterprise.
Strategy and Planning
STEP 1: Write it down. The first step in creating a corporate game plan is simple, and yet it is something most busi-nesspeople never do: Write it down. If your plan is only in
your head, that’s not a plan—it’s a thought.
Thoughts have no business value until you write them
down. Writing a game plan accomplishes three things: It
creates a thought process, creates confidence, and creates
action and results.
Activities and goals should be logical rather than realistic.
In other words, they should be achievable provided that
management and staff deploy the necessary effort, talent
STEP 2: Stop and think. When a manager creates a game
plan, he or she is forced to look at the desired results and
focus on what activities are required to achieve those
goals. This focus and the thought it takes to create a real
game plan are beneficial in themselves. They create an
environment in which to review what has worked, what
hasn’t, what’s working for others, and so forth.
In addition, a person who creates a game plan becomes
more confident and therefore more motivated to take
action. And taking action is critical. A workable game plan
is more than just a three-ring binder that management
looks at once a year and then puts on the bookshelf to
STEP 3: Be logical. When a leader creates a game plan,
the plan should not be simply a dream that a person or
team cannot achieve, but it should be a stretch from the
norm. Many business consultants and leaders advocate
making a plan realistic; that’s a sure-fire way to limit
Realistic is a poor metric to use as a measure because
it’s limited by the past and provides excuses for failure.
STEP 4: Stay committed. So many companies have the
best ideas and intentions, but often fall short of executing
and maintaining a successful game plan. Watch out for the
“Power of New” syndrome, which can be described as an
organization or team that is excited about new programs,
changes or game plans.
Unfortunately, after a few months, this “new” stuff
starts to look suspiciously like work, and the “fun-ness”
wears off. A great leader knows that working on the business is the only way to motivate everybody to keep working in the business.
Taking the time to create, execute and maintain your
game plan will put your business on the path to winning—
this year and beyond. Your plan will help your team believe
they can be Number 1. After all, logic says, “Someone has
to be Number 1, why not me?” An effective game plan
can help managers and employees—and the company as a
So stop being realistic and start being logical: Don’t
let your past limit your future. Instead, let your new game
plan lead you to a momentous year. 3
Nathan Jamail, president of the Jamail Development Group
and author of The Sales Leaders Playbook, is a motivational
speaker, entrepreneur and corporate coach.