Planning the year ahead:
Absolute essentials for success
Dr. Naomal Balasuriya, a Motivational Speaker and Corporate Trainer
in Sri Lanka and the Maldives has trained executives of over 100 top
companies in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Dr. Balasuriya, the first
doctor of medicine in Sri Lanka holds the degrees of Master of Business
Administration (MBA) and the CIM (UK). This week he speaks on Planning
the Year ahead with the Daily News Business to achieve Success.
Dr. Naomal Balasuriya
For more details visit www.naomalbalasuriya.com or email email@example.com
Q. What is the most important factor
in planning the year ahead?
A. I think the most important factor in planning the year ahead is
knowing exactly what you want to achieve.
In other words, where you want to be as an individual, as a family or
as an organization. This must evolve from the long term dreams of the
individual, family or company.
Q. Is planning essential for success?
A. Definitely yes. They say failing to plan is planning to fail. In
our own jargon, it is said that if you go with preparation, you end up
in Kataragama. If not, you end up elsewhere. Similarly, one has to know
exactly where he or she wants to go. What exactly he or she wants to
It is like going to do your marketing without a list. Imagine you go
to a supermarket without a list of what you want to buy. You end up
buying a whole heap of things that you don’t need.
However, if you plan your marketing before hand and draw up a list of
what exactly you want to buy, then, half your job is done. You merely
have to go and pick your things off the shelves. A plan similarly gives
you in black and white your targets for the year ahead.
Q. Does having a plan ensure that you
achieve your objectives?
A. Certainly not. It will only tell you about the journey you are to
embark on. It will make you and your team clear about where you want to
get to, how you will get there, the resources needed and what you have
to do to get there.
Getting there or in other words implementing the plan is the next
step. Merely having a marketing list is not enough. It will only help
you to buy the stuff you really need. Going in to the supermarket and
picking your stuff according to your list is essential. Similarly, with
a plan, implementing and controlling it is all important. If not, all
you have is a plan.
Q. How can a person plan his or her
A. Basically, there are five steps to any plan. They are firstly a
situational analysis or where you are now. Secondly, long term direction
or where you want to be. Thirdly, strategies or how you intend getting
Fourthly, an action plan to ensure arrival and fifthly controls to
ask ourselves if we are on the correct track. In planning the year
ahead, one must do a situational analysis to identify where one is with
regards to one’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Given
this analysis, he or she must come up with the objectives to be achieved
for the year ahead.
Once you come up with your objectives, you got to decide on how you
are going to achieve them. Then you need to come up with an action plan
with mini and major milestones to break up a big task into a series of
smaller tasks. Having done this one has to ensure controls to stay
focused on one’s targets.
Q. What are the key success factors
of planning the year ahead?
A. I look at the subject of planning as if one is to embark on a
journey. As such, the key success factors (or the KSFs) in planning this
journey are knowing where you want to go, identifying where you are now,
knowing what needs to be done to get there, coming up with an achievable
action plan with realistic deadlines and then controlling and monitoring
this plan of action.
Q. How important is a positive
attitude in the planning process.
A. I would say that a positive attitude is extremely important not
only in the planning process but also in the implementation process. A
positive, yes, “never say no” attitude becomes important in the planning
process as it helps one to set greater objectives to be achieved in the
year ahead. Whilst implementing this plan a great positive attitude
helps in a major way once again when one is faced with barriers,
limitations and frustrations.
Q. What advice would you give an
individual in setting objectives?
A. I would say that one must ensure that the objectives when achieved
must provide that individual happiness and peace of mind. To ensure
this, one must ensure that the objectives cover all the eight areas of
their lives mainly academic, professional, family, social, spiritual,
financial, physical and eternal. This will ensure a balance in their
lives and thereby happiness and peace of mind.
Q. Finally, what ideas would you
share with the Sri Lankan business community in planning 2009?
A. Given the tough economic conditions in the country and globally,
the main thing that our business community must keep in mind is that a
tough time doesn’t last long but tough people do.
Secondly, there are three things that they should keep in mind.
Firstly, identify the main things you want to achieve in 2009. Secondly,
identify the main things you need to do to achieve those objectives and
thirdly remember that the main thing is to achieve your objectives.