November 21, 2009

Get Results with the Process System for Planning Simply

Is it a process?
Is it a system?
It's the Process System!

Unless you love details, planning quickly gets boring. Especially as you dive down into the depths and turn the murky details into visible steps.

Planning can feel like a treadmill, but guess what? The better exercise treadmills have Quick Start buttons. You can get moving without selecting a program, confessing your age or admitting your weight. Why? Because moving forward matters most. The fine-tuning is not essential to start. A shark must keep moving to keep breathing. We must keep breathing to keep moving.

Enter the Process System for Planning Simply (PSPS). I've it used again and again year after year for many purposes. Don't take the name too seriously or worry about complexity. All you need is a blank page and a pencil. There's nothing to buy and no one to pay. We'll look at two examples: weight loss and saving for retirement.

Three Simple Steps
With the Process System, you answer three questions.
  1. What do you want?
  2. Where are you now?
  3. How do you get there?
These questions are great for consultants because they can be used in many situations. Let's dive deeper into each.

1. What Do You Want?
You start with your goal. In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey calls this Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind.

Here's the dilemma: you can't know what you want until you know what's available (i.e., what's possible, even if it doesn't currently exist). For now, let's assume you know or can easily find out what you want.

2. Where Are You Now?
This is easy to answer because you look at cold, concrete facts. Example
  • for weight loss: factors like weight, blood pressure, cholesterol
  • for finances: factors like assets/liabilities, income/expenses
3. How Do You Get There?
This is the toughest part. The steps may look simple
  • reduce calories by a specified amount per week
  • increase savings by a specified amount each month
Knowing and doing are very different. This is where the nasty details enter. This is where discipline becomes required. You may be able to act on your own but getting support from a coach or others often helps.

When you're sailing, conditions change and you make adjustments to reach your goal. You do with the Process System too. Change is simpler when you're already in motion. How do you plan? Could the Process System help you?

Podcast Episode 44 (3:26)

No comments: