Before a plane takes off the pilot has to submit his flight plan. They not only know where they are going to but everyone around them knows where they are headed. At their destination, all concerned are aware they are coming. This is great because everyone helps the crew get to their destination depending on what is required from them.
Taking off in business is very similar and while not everything can be xeroxed from the flight situation there are a couple of things that can work for us as leaders and entrepreneurs.
"You need to make a commitment, and once you make it, then life will give you some answers." -Les Brown
Charting your flight plan means you know where you are going, so does everyone you are flying with and those who can help you get there. As a leader and / or business person do you really know where you are going? Do people around you know? Do you have a support system that will help you get there?
1. Your destination. This should be defined in clearly set goals; both long term and short term. Good goals cover different areas of your life; personal, spiritual, financial, relational and business. In each of this categories, you may find you have sub-categories. Your personal values and priorities will determine how much time you have allocated to each of this sub-categories.
2. Props help you visualise your goals; exactly where you are going. Many successful people have had a prop to help them visualise their destination daily. This could be a sample cheque written to themselves for the amount of money they want, a toy version of a car they want or pictures of the house they will build and awards they will get.
As a business person helping your team visualise the goal can be done through a motto, vision statement or goals that are posted throughout the organisation and marketing material both internal and external. KPIs also help staff visualise these goals. You should have a clear plan of how to get the staff on board overall organisational goals that are aligned to your vision as an entrepreneur.
3. Your support system not only consists of your key management team but also your family friends and most importantly your mentor. All these people should know at their level what you are trying to achieve and why it is important to you. The goal of this is so that they can support you in your endeavour.
Friends that are true will remember you in their own network and refer important links they come across. They also will understand when you have to work and cannot join them in the ball game but also provide relief when you need a break from it all and need to recoup. Family observes your struggles daily and are able to help by supplementing your efforts and being there for you. The roles of family and friends are quite closely linked.
4. Get a Mentor. Your mentor dares you and gives you support to go on. Most mentors have not only done what you are trying to do (a this is a condition for their being a mentor) but often have done it and failed several times before they were successful so they know what not to do. They will direct you on the path of least resistance for success. Note this is not the path of NO resistance. Being successful always requires hard work and putting in the hours and effort to qualify you for the reward of success.
As you can see, charting your flight plan has advantages in that it helps you get the right people around you for the right reasons. If you don't know where you are headed it will be difficult to capitalise on the resources you have around you. Your plan helps you keep all your team focused so no one is swayed in the wrong direction. It gives a sense of purpose and your team the opportunity to effectively contribute and serve the purpose for which they came aboard your flight.