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a blog by Chris Barrow

Survival and Sustainability Planning - a new route map

People are asking me "where do I start with my planning at the moment?"

My usual answer would be:

  1. Three-year vision (paint me a picture of your ideal life in 2023)

  2. One-year plan (let's create a set of numbers and dates that will ensure your progress towards the vision)

  3. 90-day goals (time to get specific - what are you going to achieve this quarter?)

  4. One month targets (how will we measure our success this month?)

  5. Weekly wins (give me your three biggest wins in the next week)

  6. Daily tasks (make a list, A, B, C the list and so the A's first)

Thus it has always been in the land of priority and task management - until now.

In 2020 traditional planning methodology was shredded along with most of our existing habits.

What stands in its place?

Survival and Sustainability Planning.

In survival and sustainability planning, the order of play is reversed:

  1. How do we get through today in one piece?

  2. What are the three biggest changes we can make next week to make our systems and processes more efficient and effective?

  3. Within SOPs, how do we organise the book and the patient flow to hit our pre-Covid turnover/profitability figures this month?

  4. Given that the compliance landscape, the patient flow and the economy are in flux, how do we continuously adapt to moving goalposts over the next 90 days?

  5. If we plan for Covid to be around for a year, what does that mean in terms of the sustainability of our current levels of activity - can we keep this up?

  6. Three years from now, what would my ideal life look like?

It begins with a Zen-like approach to get through TODAY but, if you are simply focused on the day and feel too busy/tired to even look a week ahead, you will soon find yourself and your team in an unsustainable state of burnout. Cue irritability and sick leave.

Which is why I keep saying that some billable time (not free time) may have to be sacrificed to work ON the business and WITH the team, even though the perspective has reversed.

We used to go three years out, look back and reverse engineer.

Now we have to be grounded in the present reality, still look forward but adapt in real time to the shocks and challenges that each day throws at us.

Survival and sustainability will rest with those who grasp the present reality but also take time to look forward.

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