Painfree Action Planning: Overview

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. ALBERT EINSTEIN
Years ago, a very successful COO told me that having more than three major objectives at any one time was the same as having none.

As time passed and the power of this wisdom became evident, I developed a simple method for translating it into practical action.

This method is the (almost) Painfree Action Plan. The streamlined approach allows you to swiftly build a plan that is focused, functional and tight.

It's proved to be effective in almost every circumstance, from helping clients map a path through a complex landscape to pinpointing priorities for high-profile projects or defining an annual plan.


The rules are the same, whether you tackle this alone or with a group:
  • Work quickly
  • Capture key points in simple terms
  • Don’t stop to fuss or wordsmith
  • Complete one full pass through the process
  • Then, review, analyze, fill holes and refine as necessary

Step 1: Get Ready

Use a tactile, low-tech, visual approach. It's quicker, more fun and produces better results. Make some basic preparations:
  • Clear some space to work and think
  • Brew a fresh pot of coffee
  • Gather pens, paper, flip charts, markers, index cards, Post-Its, etc.
  • Turn off your phone and all beeping, flashing or twirling intrusions 

Step 2: Determine the Scope

This technique works for almost any situation. Choose your immediate scope, designate a timeframe, and stay focused. Are you creating an annual or short-term plan? Is it a plan for:
  • The company?
  • A division or department?
  • A special project, product or service?

Step 3: Build Your Plan

The process is very easy, as the illustration shows. Identify:
  • 3 critical outcomes for the identified scope and timeframe
  • 3 essential goals or targets for each outcome
  • 3 vital tasks related to each goal 

Want to make this your best year to date? A clear map will help you set priorities and manage events rather than letting events manage you.

What are you waiting for? If you start now and keep it simple, you could have a basic plan in place by the end of the day.


The Truth about Planning
Painfree Action Planning: Core Elements
Painfree Action Planning: 5 Pitfalls
Strategy | Where's Your Sweet Spot? (series)
B2B Blogs | 5. Expand Your Plan

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