The Power of Negative Thinking

December 18, 2012 · 0 comments

in Planning

Why bother planning? There’s so much uncertainty!

Good article in Wall Street Journal! Will make your blood boil! Or maybe you’ll say, “Hmmm, I see the value in that.” A few key ideas that excite me:

“Many successful business people reject the idea of setting firm goals.” They reject the value of setting big, audacious SMART goals—“specific, measureable, attainable, relevant, and timely.”

Things are too uncertain for this. Instead of choosing a goal and then making a plan to achieve it, look at the means and materials at your disposal, then imagine the possible ends.

Use the “affordable loss principle.” Instead of focusing on the spectacular rewards from a venture, ask how great the loss would be if it failed. If the potential loss seems tolerable, take the next step.

Use “defensive pessimism.” Just thinking in detail about worst-case scenarios can sap their anxiety-producing power.

Since I lead planning workshops, why would this excite me? We try to accommodate these ideas in our planning:

— Get your plan done on just one sheet of paper. If you can’t write it on a page, you can’t do it in a year anyway.

— Focus on your toughest challenges, uncertainties, dilemmas, choice points. Any plan that ignores these is bound to fail.

— Balance between business and the rest of your life is a key goal. Build it into your plan.

— Plan for how you will deal with uncertainties. The more uncertainty, the more flexibility.

— Be steadfast pursuing your goals—until it’s time to shift. When a goal has been left behind by events, change it. It’s deadly to stick with it.

Our Small Business Success plan workshop helps you get your plan for the year done and presented to others for their feedback.

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