Podcast

Episode: 445 |
David A. Fields:
David A. Fields on The Eight-Week Planning Process:
Episode
445

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

david-a-fields-meridian-new-york-ny

David A. Fields

David A. Fields on The Eight-Week Planning Process

Show Notes

David A. Fields is the co-founder of Ascendant Consulting and is the author of the #1 most recommended book on Amazon.com for consultants interested in building a practice, The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients, and the Executive’s Guide to Consultants. David is well-known throughout North America for his expertise in the consulting arena, and in today’s episode, he shares valuable insights and advice on planning strategies.

To learn more about the 8-week planning process, visit 8 Weeks to Get Juiced. To learn more about the focus wheel, visit Use This Unique Tool to Focus Your Consulting Firm, and to subscribe to David’s weekly articles where you will find a plethora of valuable insights, visit www.davidafields.com/blog.

 

Key points include:

02:47: Planning 90 minutes each week for eight weeks

08:08: Focusing on data and lessons learned

11:32: Revisiting your mission, vision, and values

31:27: Budgets and resources

 

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

 

445.DavidFields

 

Will Bachman 00:01

Hello, and welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. I’m your host Will Bachman and I am so excited to have David A. Fields back on the show. He was a guest on episode number 001 of the show. And many more times I think, David, you’ve been on, I don’t know if 789 times, it’s always great to have you back. Everyone should buy David’s book, I’ve given out a couple 100 copies to the Irresistible Consultants Guide to Winning Clients by David A. Fields who include a link in the show notes, and you should subscribe to his weekly blog. It’s the first thing I ever read every Wednesday morning, go to David A. Fields.com and find the link to subscribe, David, welcome to the show.

 

David Fields 00:46

Hey, well, thank you so much. It always makes my day or my entire week just to get a chance to chat with your month.

 

Will Bachman 00:52

So David, David is a for listeners who don’t know, listen, David is the top coach in the United States. He might say North America and North America, let’s expand it in North America, to independent consultants and boutique firms with revenues of I don’t know 1,000,220 5 million, something like that. David, correct me. And so he sees many, many firms and what they do. And today, David, I’m hoping we can talk about sort of annual review process to look back at your year, as well as planning process of looking forward to the year of what you advise boutique firms as well as independent consultants on on that process. And we’re doing it advance here in early October. So people will have time to think about what they want to do. And you know, over the next couple of months to do this process. So talk to me where you’d like to start.

 

David Fields 01:58

Alright, so yeah, let’s dive into that. It’s funny. Well, you and I obviously talked about the topic just just a little bit beforehand. And I was thinking, should, should we actually talk with listeners or you know, about the value of doing any kind of planning. But then, of course, whoever listens to this, this sort of self selected in, right, so if you click to listen on this podcast, it’s probably because you believe there’s some value in in planning. And if you didn’t, I can’t reach you anyway. So so we probably don’t need to sell anybody on the value of it. What do you think?

 

Will Bachman 02:30

If you’re not interested in any review process? Why did you click on this episode, go to another episode, there’s lots of other good episodes to listen to. Alright, so people are already bought in. But they say, you know, they already do it already. But they think maybe David has a better way of doing it.

 

David Fields 02:47

So yeah, I think actually, there is a better way, okay. And then the typical, so the typical approach to planning is, you know, we’ll sit down, sit down with my team, or my team consists of me and my dog, I’ll sit down with my dog, you know, over the course of a day, and you know, we’re going to dig in, we’re going to develop our plan. And, you know, or a group, we’re going to take two days and bring everybody together, and we’re going to hammer out our plan. And that’s just just requires an enormous amount of energy and time and everybody ends up exhausted as opposed to exhilarated and excited. So I think there is a better way it’s a it’s a way we suggest to our clients, probably that one of our clients who uses what I’m going to walk through most religiously is a client that’s grown 12x since since we started from you know, the the mid six figures into well into seven figures. And now Is it because of this planning process? Well, I can’t say that, just kind of saying they use this. So it’s, it’s, it’s pretty helpful. Eight, it’s eight weeks, as opposed to two days. And it’s eight weeks because you only need 90 minutes each week. And 90 minutes each week is way easier to schedule. It’s hard to carve out a couple of days, and retain that energy, but carbon out 90 minutes each week for eight weeks that you can do. So you end up with more energy better thinking, more reflection time. And this is a perfect time to do this episode. Well, because coming towards the end of the year, you can kind of plan out your eight weeks you can have it correspond with the final eight weeks of the year or close to that and then you’re all set up. It’s a perfect time. So how does that sound? How does that resonate?

 

Will Bachman 04:39

It’s a perfect time because we have about eight weeks if you let’s say take Thanksgiving week off and Christmas we I mean now’s the time to start.

 

David Fields 04:47

Now’s the time you start. So you want me to run you through the eight weeks.

 

Will Bachman 04:50

Absolutely.

 

David Fields 04:52

All right. Let’s jump in. And oh, by the way, and I know you’ll put this in the show notes. This process was outlined in an article Actually in in October during an October article a couple of years ago, so I’ll give you the link to that. And as a listener, if you, you know, if you like this, you think, let me give this a try. You just go there, and you’ll have a handy reminder of what happens in each week,

 

Will Bachman 05:16

we will definitely include that link in the show notes.

 

David Fields 05:19

All right, perfect. Okay, week one. Week One is simply reporting the facts. You pulled together, you’re getting your team, or just yourself. And the idea here is to figure out implications, or why did things happen? or any of that it’s just to pull together and report the facts. Now, if you have a team, that’s helpful, because then you can have different people on the team responsible for different facts. What was your revenue? How many clients did you have? How many clients did you lose? How many clients did you gain? If you’re a little bit larger firm, you might want facts around productivity, utilization, revenue worked for per consultant, revenue sold per these kinds of things. So there’s lots of KPIs, and I don’t want to go into a whole thing of KPIs right now. But whatever data you feel is going to be important. week one, that’s all you need to do for that 90 minutes is just pull together the facts and have a review. So everybody who’s going to participate, can see these, this is the data we have, or these are the data we have. And by the way, you might realize, oh, we’re missing some important data that can come up in week one. And now you have a week to pull together a little bit more data if you need it. That’s it. That’s week one. Make sense?

 

Will Bachman 06:39

make sense. And I know you don’t want to get into a full KPI discussion, but you know, addition to revenue. Probably another thing to look at would be what deals Do you pitch and lose? Right? So getting that list of all those clients where, where you submitted a proposal, and you know, maybe some some KPIs or some info around? How many, you know, clients that you have discussions with out of those, how many proposals Did you submit out of those? How many did you win? And what were the reasons for the losses? So whatever that fact basis number week one is factfinding. Okay, what’s week two

 

David Fields 07:14

findings? Exactly right. And you’re right you want if we look across the four elements of a consulting firm, the four elements are winning engagements, and profitably creating value those two together kind of the spinning cycle, the core of consulting, and then you have infrastructure supporting that spending cycle, you wrap strategy around it, you have yourself a consulting, firm consulting is very simple, when engagements profitably create value, have infrastructure to support you, and then have strategy. In each of those four buckets, you can have some KPIs. So exactly what you said. And when you engagements, how do we do across each conversion across each stage of the pipeline? In profitably delivering value? What kind of feedback are we getting from clients? What is our client experience look like? utilization, all those kinds of things in so yes, I would suggest KPIs in each bucket.

 

Will Bachman 08:05

All right, fantastic. All right. So what’s week two?

 

David Fields 08:08

week two, is where you take a look at the data. And you come to week two, with questions with thoughts with observations. And week two is about lessons learned. What did we learn week two is kind of the retrospective part of this week, what did we learn to it based on these data? And what do we want to bring forward into the future? And there’s a huge advantage to having a week delay between the first session and the second session, as opposed to doing it in the moment. When you do it in the moment when we say okay, we’re going to do have planning day, people present data, and then you kind of just react, right, you’re acting, you know, with just with emotion and in what do you see at the moment, all of that. Whereas if you have a little bit of time to reflect, to think about it, he started to say, Well, okay, maybe this is a lesson, but it wasn’t the most important lesson. Or maybe it wasn’t even a lesson. Maybe, you know, my instant reaction wasn’t the the ideal reaction. So by the time you come into the week to session, you’ve had a little bit of time to sit with the data to think about it coherently. And then say here, and sort of, here’s my top priority learning. From the data, we saw that this failed, this succeeded. We’ve got a real gap, a conversion in this place, or whatever it is. And it allows you to focus on the key lessons learned. And that’s what week two is lessons learned. What are the implications of that? And again, that’s it, you leave it there.

 

Will Bachman 09:39

Alright, so 60 seconds on this have maybe some questions to help tee up lessons learned. I’m thinking perhaps. What did we try that worked really well? What did we try that didn’t work as well as we hoped? What surprised us this year? What are some? What are some other questions, David to help tee up some lessons learned.

 

David Fields 10:01

So those are those are really smart, insightful questions. We’ll, I will admit, we use a very simple retrospective approach for most times we do retrospectives with clients and internally, we really ask for questions. And just for questions, what worked well. And it could be about a certain topic, what worked well, this year, what worked well, in terms of winning engagements this year? What worked? Well, in terms of our delivery this year, we may break it down what worked well, in our client experience. Then we asked, what didn’t work so well. To make the list, it is what it is. Then the third question is, if we knew then what we know now, what would we have done differently? So that’s question three, perfect, you know, 2020 hindsight, if we were just had started the year different, you know, over what would we do differently? And that leads to the fourth question, which I always delegate to my director of operations, which is, given everything we just talked about, what are the implications for our systems? Meaning, what do we need to regularly do differently? Not just kind of what’s a general change? But how do we improve the way we operate? That’s it. Those are the that’s kind of our standard retrospective. And I will tell you that in and of itself seems to lead to enormous value.

 

Will Bachman 11:25

All right, that was a pure gold mini episode right there, those four questions. That was awesome. Okay, let’s go on to week three.

 

David Fields 11:32

Okay, week three, is a chance to revisit your mission as a firm your vision, your values, because now having learned now, we reflected first kind of weeks, one, two, and three, were all reflection, now we’re going to start making changes. So I, every firm should have an immutable purpose. And that does not change or immutable purpose never changes, it’s it is what will, you might call your North Star or something like that. And that should just stain your firm over the entire life of your firm. However, your mission might change your vision for the church for may change in response to the environment in response to your own, you know, personal sort of life stage or where you want to go with the business. Ideally, your values don’t change over time, but they might, you might realize your values are not in sync with your behavior. And so you’re, either your behavior needs to change, or you need to be honest about what your values are. So if this is the now that we’re going forward, we’re going to start going forward, looking forward at the highest level, mission vision values. And you just sort of by the end of this 90 minutes, you you record any changes and in kind of your new mission, vision and value, you can tweak it of course, going forward, but that’s what we’re going to do in week three.

 

Will Bachman 12:55

Okay, so quick question here. For some people, maybe I’d be part of some people, you know, mission, vision and purpose can be a little bit of these fuzzy terms. So make it practical for us. Yeah, give me give me an example of a cascaded, you know, what would an example of a purpose be of a mission and a vision and how those nest together just to kind of make that real for us?

 

David Fields 13:18

Wow, holy cow, I was going to put me on the spot love an example. So let’s see how I can do against that. The so in immutable purpose? Is your overarching Why, why do you exist as a firm, and these can be the kind of fuzzy high level heartwarming drivers that make you get up in the morning, hopefully do what you want to do, it could be having an impact on the world, creating good serving, you know, kind of serving a profession, whatever, whatever it is, this, this shouldn’t be really your deepest. Why? It could be, you know, will that with with Umbrex, you want to enable the, the smartest of the smart and with Veritux, and you know, your communities to thrive is independence. And you want to enable companies, organizations to use the top talent in the world. And maybe this is kind of your driving. You know, purpose, I don’t know. Or you might say, that’s not really my purpose. Now might be my mission, because one person is person’s purpose might be another person’s mission. So you may you may decide you my immutable purpose is never going to change ever in the world is I’m going to create the most impact for the most people. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to build communities of great impact are people okay, I’m not sure but that would be interesting to hear what you believe is your immutable purpose.

 

Will Bachman 14:54

Yeah, our purpose is to help independent professionals thrive.

 

David Fields 15:00

Okay, so is there any circumstance in which that could change?

 

Will Bachman 15:10

None that comes to mind. But okay, good. I haven’t thought it through enough, but I don’t think so.

 

David Fields 15:16

Okay, so, so that might be your purpose. And it’s like this guiding Northstar that you that no come hell or high water would not change for you and your firm. And it’s it’s the rudder, if you will, your firm that allows you to steer the business through turbulent times, no matter what else changes, your purpose never changes. Yeah, your your, you know, how does that then cascade down into a mission, the mission is probably just a little bit more changeable, that’s something that will hopefully it won’t change or won’t change much. But it might change, it might change in a decade, or a couple decades. So your mission might be we’re going to build a community, for thrive for for independent professionals that allow them to thrive? Well, at some point, you might decide you fulfilled that mission. We built the community. So now we’re going to head off on a new mission, still within our immutable purpose. But but we’ve achieved the mission.

 

Will Bachman 16:31

Okay, got it. So, so for maybe a more typical consulting firm, a mission might be something like, I don’t know, preparing for y2k, or something like that, where you work on that for a decade? And then Okay, why decays pass? So on to the next mission?

 

David Fields 16:48

Exactly, right. Exactly. Right. Now the vision is, is still another step down and a little bit more tactical. This is where we see ourselves, we are, we see ourselves a vision being because you know, the vision is see yourself, we see ourselves being a $20 million firm, with a, you know, a branch that is dedicated to putting the ex top tier consultants into highly valuable projects, and providing a community for those consultants to learn from each other. Right? Oh, could be more defined to be a little bigger, but it’s easy, it’s taking your mission and now putting it into. So here’s how we see ourselves doing it.

 

Will Bachman 17:36

Alright, so it’s certainly getting a little bit more specific about what you can actually see. Right?

 

David Fields 17:41

Exactly. Right. So that does that help with kind of immutable purpose and mission and vision?

 

Will Bachman 17:49

It does. And and then on the values piece, might my guess there is my thought you know, I had a couple cents, there’s it might not be that you one value is no longer important to you at all, but that your relative priority have different values, you know, either as a firm or as an individual changes. So, you know, maybe you value economic security, but you also value freedom and creativity, and you value your independence or you value, you know, altruism making contribution, those things could continue to all be important to you, but maybe like the number one thing out of that list might vary over time.

 

David Fields 18:27

Yeah, I think it’s very possible. You know, we try to keep ours consistent, we should do a whole thing of values, because values are fascinating. The one thing I see in consulting firms, in terms of values specifically, is the values are not true. And what I mean by that is, they’re not a realistic reflection of how the consulting firm behaves. And if you’re out of integrity with your values, then something is amiss. Your either your values are aspirational, which is fine, but if they’re too far removed, they’re not truthful. And I think it’s important to be truthful with who you are as a firm, because it allows you to operate better allows you to hire better if you’re doing hiring, to set your your strategy correctly, just understanding who you are. And yes, you can say, here’s who I want to be. But if there’s a gap, you better figure out a way to address them. So that you are being truthful, and thinking of integrity of because we did some research on this 40% between 40 and 50% of consulting firms list integrity, that specific word as one of their values. Now what that says about our industry is we have a good conversation about that, that you that you need to list that are that’s important to list that. I think it’s kind of fascinating in itself. We’ve made it to week three,

 

Will Bachman 19:52

all right, so let’s keep going. Alright, so we’ll do a feature session on values and purpose, mission, vision. Do we have a little mini episode here? Okay, so week three is a time to reflect on my still living my purpose, mission vision values, do I need to update

 

David Fields 20:08

it and to change and also to change? Yeah, update. Alright, so week four. All right, week four goals, gaps and objectives. So now, you’re going to take 90 minutes, again, as a team or as an individual, depending on the size of your firm, you’re going to come up with your goals and goals, our results, here are the results we want to achieve over the next 12 months. I sometimes am a little bit loose with the nomenclature. But so for for today’s podcast, that’s a well defined goal, which is the result. And, you know, strangely, I wouldn’t spend too much time on goals. I don’t think goals are enormously helpful. There, they’re just you know, it’s just like a stake in the sand, you reach it or you don’t reach it. And the fact that you write the goal down despite what a lot of people say, I don’t think it’s writing the goal down that allows you to achieve it, I think it’s the next two pieces that allow you to achieve or to your, your, these results that you have

 

Will Bachman 21:10

in mind, we mean the gaps and the objectives pieces, exactly the gaps in the objective sense.

 

David Fields 21:14

So the gaps, the gaps is a difference between the results you want to achieve and where you are right now. So if you say we want to be a $5 million firm, and right now historically, we’ve been a $2 million firm, you get $3 million gap. And you’re going to come up with a lot of gaps between where you want to be and where you are now. And all those are all gaps do it gives you a chance to prioritize. What is it we truly want to work on? We want to truly work on winning more clients who want to truly work on what’s it, maybe we have a we see a real gap. In our customer satisfaction, our churn rate is too high. Do we see a real gap in our ability to land and expand? Or are we do we lose people? Do we suck at hiring with a lot of us do? Well, you know, gaps just really give you a chance to see, okay, I love the picture of where I want to be the difference between where I want to be and now I can make Stark, which of those are most important. And from there, you get your objective? Yeah,

 

Will Bachman 22:31

it’s that premium design, which is most important that that you know, I find the hardest because, you know, there’s like, Oh, I want to work on all these things. I have so many things I want to work on. But learning to prioritize and just saying, Okay, I’m gonna have the discipline to just focus on one thing and get that fixed and nailed. Yeah. Is is hard. A good

 

David Fields 22:51

point? Well, it is really hard. But if you’re going to go through the effort of planning, and you’re not going to prioritize that, that seems odd. To me, prioritizing is hard, especially for those of us who just love to do stuff and do new stuff and say, Oh, yeah, but I want to do that I want to do that. And energy for a lot of things. It’s hard to prioritize. I personally have gone through those periods where I say, Okay, here’s my answer to prioritization, just hire more people. You know, I want to do everything. And so I’ll just hire enough resource that everything can get done. That doesn’t work actually, phenomenally well. Well, I

 

Will Bachman 23:29

mean, hiring takes time, and then and then, you know, incorporating new people and train them up takes bandwidth and time. So.

 

David Fields 23:39

Right, and all those things regarding direction they do.

 

Will Bachman 23:42

Okay, so let’s keep going. Because I know we’re timing.

 

David Fields 23:44

Okay. We haven’t finished before. Talking about objective,

 

Will Bachman 23:49

Yeah, what’s up?

 

David Fields 23:50

How are they different than goals? That’s right, right. So So goals, gaps, objectives. Now objectives are, what it’s really about. The objectives are the activities that you will do that are within your control. So now we’re talking about how you actually close the gaps. What are we going to commit to that is within our control? Are we going to do more marketing? What does that look like? Right? That’s the key. Because the other stuff goals are not within your control. Therefore, by definition, gaps aren’t within your control. Your objectives, though, those are within your control. Yeah, that’s what you’re gonna do in week four.

 

Will Bachman 24:31

Yeah, I like that much more, right? Like processes within your control. Like, I can’t guarantee I’m going to get in five new leads per month. But I can say, Well, I’m gonna make 20 outbound calls per week or something. And that’s something that I can control. So focus on what you can control.

 

David Fields 24:50

Yep, exactly. Right. So now we’re one month in, alright. And we’ve actually laid the groundwork you have everything you need to now drill down into a more granular plan for your for yourself in your firm. And that means week five, you’re actually going to say, Alright, so what are the big projects? What are our big initiatives, maybe we’re going to launch a podcast, maybe I’m going to try to write a book this year, maybe we’re going to tackle a different target audience, you how are we going to now bring these objectives to life. And the lots of tools you can do to help yourself to help prioritize, there’s something I don’t know whether we talk about the focus wheel ever. If not, that’d be another thing to talk about. At some point, it’s a nice little device, that forces your prioritization and forces you to focus. Because it’s just concentric circles and the outer rings, you could put all the projects, all the things you could possibly do that would push you toward your objectives. And then, and then you sort of gradually and you can like do it on a mural or mural board or whiteboard with sticky notes. And just put them all out there, just put in that big ring everything. And then there’s less and less room for projects, as you move towards the center. And your center ring is here’s what we will actually focus on right now. And there should only be room for maybe four or five.

 

Will Bachman 26:23

I love that physical space constraining it. And that’s that’s a cool idea of making, you know, sticky notes in only so much space for sticky notes, visually representing that bandwidth. And, you know, I’ll chime in here that, that when you come up with this list of big projects, I found it personally helpful to put those on your wall and actually have them written up so you can see them every day. And I find that that just helps kind of remind you make sure you’re working on each one a little bit each day.

 

David Fields 26:58

Yeah, that’s that’s a great idea. And it seems to work so well for you. I encourage all listeners to go to Will’s place and put them up on his wall. Didn’t clearly at the magic wall,

 

Will Bachman 27:06

goes up on my wall. That’s right. I covered my brick wall, I covered my entire room with these with these one foot by one foot, soundproofing tiles. And which which is awesome because I had this super loud echoey room. And so now I have some space. So come by swing by and we have like a full room size bulletin board for you to stick your your goals up on my wall.

 

David Fields 27:30

That is excellent. Can you imagine just how much amazing energy there would be? Everybody did it. I love that. All right. So after we’ve all left Will’s place in and enjoyed some some meal in in Manhattan. We can spend a week sort of enjoying that and then hit week six. How’s that sound? Sounds good. Alright, so Week Six, you kind of put your milestones for the year in place. Now in the article that and historically, the way I’ve suggested this is quarterly, quarterly objectives. And so now you’re going to break it down and say what are our milestones, how we can kind of create what what I would call a sprint, I get all sorts of flack from the software community because software development community believes a sprint is two weeks, I’m like, Well, I’m consulting and consulting Sprint’s like three months. But the you basically you just want to break it down. And what we have found is there’s this is there is some magic in kind of three months. in that range, it’s mid term, it’s not so far out that you can really put it off, but it’s not so close that it gets in the way of immediate working or fires. It’s a nice middle ground will over the the past year. So we’ve actually changed our approach to this. And we now do trimesters as opposed to quarterly. And the reason is that the cadence we use now we use with with our clients now is what we call three, one cadence. So we set a goal for three months or for the four months, but three months are really hard work against those goals that that move you towards or those objectives that move you towards those goals. And then the fourth month of the trimester is retrospective is reflection. How did we do what worked in this process that allowed us to either achieve the goals are not achieved the goals and then what then apply that learning to the next step. Because just running from quarter to quarter to quarter to quarter without any reflection and reset and improvement is less effective. It turns out, then taking a kind of a breather. So we’ve trained that two trimesters just FYI. And I don’t know again, if that resonates or doesn’t resonate. I’m always interested in your response.

 

Will Bachman 29:51

My response is, it sounds like an awesome idea. I feel probably personally I would be probably edging into that reflection. Much To finish off what I’m supposed to get done in the first three months,

 

David Fields 30:03

but well, exactly. Yeah, no, no, that’s that’s, that’s also the case. It’s a catch up month also. Yeah. But if you don’t have that catch up month, then you’re into the next quarter. Like, wait, I didn’t finish last quarter.

 

Will Bachman 30:15

Yeah, but laying, I like the idea of laying out these goals on sort of a three months or four months, say so. Alright, so our big effort of implementing a new internal software package that will be in the first quarter, and then we’re going to launch our new website in the second quarter, and we’re going to launch our new podcasts in the third quarter. So we’ve had these big meaty projects, not Oh, well, in general, sometime in 2022, I’m going to get them done, saying, Okay, let’s Nestle them into a quarter, and then we’d have to worry about Ireland, and then we’re going to nail it and focus.

 

David Fields 30:46

Exactly right. Exactly right. And the beauty of the three, one approach we’re using will is let’s say you say, Okay, I’m going to launch this podcast, or I’m going to put in my CRM, and then you you get to month four, after the three months, you’re supposed to do it, you say, Okay, well, we didn’t do it. What happened? What got in the way? What can we learn from that? And that allows you to be again, realistic, understand yourself, improve your processes, improve how you approach your big goals and your work. So that going forward, there’s a higher likelihood you will actually achieve them. Okay, and I think it’s critically important.

 

Will Bachman 31:24

Yeah. All right. 3567. Okay. Yeah, week seven, week seven

 

David Fields 31:27

is budgets and resources, then you now have you got your trimester or your quarterly goals, you’ve got everything laid out, you have to look and say, well, in order to achieve these, what do we need in terms of resource? Do we have the right people? Do I need to hire some outside help? Do I need some partners? Could we get some automation in here? Can we systemize something? What will that cost? How much am I willing to spend against it? So now we get down to the very, very end of really the planning process, which is I know what I’m going to do. Now I’ve got to plan the resources and plan to ensure I have the talent and where with all to accomplish these six.

 

Will Bachman 32:09

Okay, so now Is it right? It’s brass tacks, you’re starting to plan out, how am I actually going to get it done? Or at least, maybe not even that part? It’s saying, What resources do I need to get it done? What kind of talent do I need? What kind of budget do I need? And like

 

David Fields 32:26

the how you’re going to get it done? A lot of it actually is in the previous week. Okay, is is, in addition to saying here’s our objectives, it, I would take it to the next step. And then finalize that next step in in this budget and resources, because in order to figure out the budget and resources, you need to know what the steps are, oh, well, you know, these unless you’ve decided we’re gonna write copy for the website for our podcast, you don’t know that you need a copywriter.

 

Will Bachman 32:54

Right, but at this point, you’re still not, if I understand correctly, you’re not necessarily getting into the nitty gritty kind of week by week gameplan. You’re saying, okay, I want to start a podcast, or I want to create a new website or update our website in the second quarter. So I know that I’m going to need a website, like developers slash designer, and I know I need probably a writer because I don’t want to write it myself. But you’re not saying okay, like, what’s the week to week exact, you know, project plan, right? You’re just saying, Oh, well, I need a website developer. So I better start finding one and figuring out how much they cost and so forth.

 

David Fields 33:31

Yeah. And exactly right. That’s exactly right. And decide Are you willing to invest? Here, either you’re either going to invest in in partners and help and guidance or whatever or not. And now’s a good time to map that out. You can have contingencies you can say, Okay, well, in the third trimester, I’m going to plan on on hiring a coach, I’m going to plan on hiring a ghostwriter. Assuming we’ve hit 1,000,005 person, and we’ve hit, you know, 3,000,005, or whatever it is. Alright, at least you know, you’ve got clear indicators.

 

Will Bachman 34:14

Yeah, and we’ve talked before on the show about building out your virtual team. And if you know ahead of time, hey, I’m going to need to get a ghostwriter or a copywriter or a website developer, then you can be kind of alert to that. And you can be asking people in conversation. Hey, do you know a website developer and if he sees someone who has a really great website to ask them who did so you can have more alert to that in tune to it. So even if you don’t need that person for three or six months, if you’ve identified that as a resource need, you’re much more likely to maybe just come across that person or get introduced and the universe will will deliver. If you’re alert to it and kind of have written down that you need to find that kind of talent.

 

David Fields 35:00

Exactly right. And also a and we’ll you’ll cut this out if you don’t want me to say it. There’s this really amazing resource by this guy Will Bachman that he has his entire list of, you know, copywriters and website designers and you know everything you need that has been contributed by people in the community, you find that you need something, you can go to that list, and there’s

 

Will Bachman 35:22

a great start as a good start. And we’re always happy to help. So let’s bring it home. What week eight, we’re at let’s I’m great. I’m on pins and needles. So how do we finish the process? Well, you

 

David Fields 35:33

finally Well, you finish the eight weeks by having a lot of chocolate ready to celebrate. And which is the real purpose of week eight. All the weeks up to now or like including budgeting or especially budgeting might raise some concerns or challenges and fast can we really do this or not? And and this is where you resolve the challenges. So this is where you you finalize the details? Well, I will tell you I’m actually for me personally, I don’t use the map it out week by week, that level of granularity, in part because I don’t have the patience for it. And also, because I find those plans are fragile. My experience with most consulting firms is that we say you’ve got, you’ve got three months to launch this podcast. And let’s get this launch. What do you need to do next is well, we don’t need to literally lay it out week by week. In consulting, most folks are smart and seem to be able to do it without that level of detail plan. But if you’re smart and do like that level of detailed plan, we can’t you couldn’t you could lay it out. Or between week seven, week eight, week eight. Again, we’re not trying to do this all in two days, you could take some time and take those top handful of priorities for the coming trimester and map those out. And then week eight, you finish and the next next retrospective month, you can map out the detailed plans for the next sprint. But I don’t think you have to do the entire years objectives granularly week by week, certainly not during this planning period. Yeah,

 

Will Bachman 37:12

that would I think, was it Eisenhower? I don’t know, someone smart said, I think that plans are useless. But planning is essential. That kind of generally, there you go. Something like that. Alright, David, so we got an eight week review and planning process. Fantastic. We will include a link in the show notes. Any final final messages or thoughts?

 

David Fields 37:41

If you made it through as a listener if you made it through this whole conversation, because you know, well, you and I we talked a little long time, you definitely have the endurance and and what it takes to do this process, it is actually extraordinarily effective. And so I would at least just give it a try. For you know, give it a try this year, and see how it works for you. And, you know, adapted it and make it work for you with maybe doing four weeks or six weeks or 12 weeks.

 

Will Bachman 38:12

And if you do then let us know reach out. Let us know how the planning process went. Any tweaks that you or improvisations or you know, alternate ideas that you have around planning. I’d love to hear about it. I’ll share it with David. David is always so awesome to have you on the show. So much fun, great ideas. We’ll include a link to your article where you lay this out in more detail. Thanks so much for joining today.

 

David Fields 38:39

Oh, thank you. Well, it was fun as always.

 

Will Bachman 38:42

And everybody go to David A. Fields, calm subscribe. You won’t regret it. First thing I read every Wednesday morning, David, thanks a lot for joining.

 

David Fields 38:51

Okay, well, I’ll talk to you soon.

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