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A client of mine is in the process of making a huge business decision that could really change how her business is run and what its future will look like. What is she considering? Hiring someone to run the business for her. This is huge. After congratulating her on thinking so boldly and potentially taking such a big step, the coach in me paused to question, “What groundwork needs to be laid to ensure you’re making the right decision and setting yourself up for success as you and your business enter this exciting new phase?”

We will all face important changes, decisions and/or projects in our lives. Sometimes, if you’re like me, excitement can take over and you’ll race into them with your head down and little planning. The results are usually mixed. However, I notice that when we lay the proper groundwork before racing ahead, our prospects for success are significantly increased.

As my client and I prepare for this big decision for her business, we will be working through these three key components for laying the groundwork:

1. Where are we going?

The answer to this question, and the deeper questions below, will reveal the objective of the change or project. I often get some push back on diving into these questions. I hear, “My objective is clear, I want to grow my business” or “I want to hire a president for my company.” These are great starting points, yet there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Depending on who you are and what exactly you are looking for, the answers could be very different. So don’t skimp on this step. Once the picture of where you are going is crystal clear, the rest of the planning will be much easier.

  • What objectives will be met with this change?
  • What do you hope this new thing will do for you?
  • How will it fulfill you?
  • How will the future be different from today once this is done?
  • Once complete, what will the situation and the conditions surrounding it look like?

2. Am I ready?

The success of this change rests upon your personal groundwork. There are gifts and skills that make each of us unique, yet too often we only operate on autopilot, in a reactive method of decision-making. The following questions will help you explore whether you are personally ready for this change:

  • How does this change align with your personal values?
  • What are the reasons for this change?
  • What needs and/or wants is this change meeting?
  • How will you need to be different once this change is in place or goal is reached?

3. Is the business ready?

If your goal or change isn’t related to a business, this step isn’t necessary. If it is, then it is critical to assess the readiness of your business. The primary component of this step is clarifying the business’ purpose the reason the business exists. A fully-defined business purpose will greatly enhance the overall process. Evaluating the business’s values is another important step in ensuring the business is ready, so that the change or goal is founded on and aligned with these values.

During this process, your goals and priorities might change, and that’s okay. The overall objective of laying the proper groundwork is to give you the best chance of succeeding.

Jeff Harmon

Jeff Harmon is the president of Brilliance Within Coaching & Consulting which specializes in developing servant leaders while helping them translate their strategies into actionable plans that drive business results. Jeff is the author of “The Anatomy of a Principled Leader.” Jeff has been developing leaders for nearly 20 years and has led the execution of over 100,000 hours of business strategy for information technology, financial services and non-profit organizations.

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