Bad Plans Carried Out Violently Many Times Yield Good Results. Do something.

This was my Marine Corps soccer team’s motto 30 years ago. It has since become a key business practice for me. It’s also the title of a book I’m writing and the basis for Carrie’s great story below.

We plan, research, and think things to death when all the evidence says that the #1 indicator of success in business is not how smart you are, how much research you do, or even how good your product is. The #1 indicator of success is speed of execution. Period. Want to be successful? As Larry the Cable Guy says, “Get ‘er done.”

One of my clients, Carrie Roberts, took this to heart – here’s her story to me in an email yesterday. This one will make the book. FYI – the following blur of activity took place in only two weeks that included Christmas and New Years:

“Holy Sh%#!!! (like I said, excuse my french:)

I hit my goal somehow – actually – even exceeded my goal – and your voice keeps resonating in my head – Bad Plans my friend!!!

I finished writing my product Blueprint last week – cut out some things that I didn’t have finished, changed the price to $47 so that I could get it up through click bank, set up a hosting account, set up a separate email account, set up an auto-responder account, hired a web guy – web guy finished the site yesterday, got final approval from click bank yesterday at 6pm, got everything set up through them and listed on their site, and everything went live by 9pm last night.

Set up a google adwords account and placed an ad, signed up with Tweet Later and set up auto-responder messages for Twitter, chose 20 new people to follow and was in bed by 11.

I made my first sale this morning at 9am

I cried

I don’t know where this is going – it’s a bad plan – but it is a great way to start 2009!

couldn’t wait to share – Happy New Year!!!”

What else is there to say?

Just one thing – the fine-tuning on my “Bad Plans carried out violently” principle is:

“Implement Now, Perfect as You Go.”

I know Carrie well enough that, having worked her rear off to get something up that wasn’t perfect, she will begin immediately to make it better. And having it already up and running will allow her to perfect it much quicker than if she was continuing to perfect a theoretical business plan.

She will definitely perfect her Bad Plan as she goes. This ought to be good. Way to go, Carrie!

What Bad Plan do you need to carry out violently (with total commitment) that you’ve been dinking around with for months? The best way to make it better is to go live and let the world inform you how to perfect it.

Carpe Diem, Just Do It, and all that stuff.

Got a great “Bad Plan carried out violently” story? I’d love to hear it. It could make the book. Tell me AFTER you implement!

Why Bad Plans Will Make You More Money Than Good Plans

Good plans, aren’t.

The Marine Motto.

When I was on the Marine soccer team many years ago, our team action plan was:
“Bad plans carried out violently many times yield good results. Do something.”

We weren’t the most talented team. We played a Brazilian team that was like watching a Monet get painted, or poetry in motion. The ball stuck to their feet like velcro and they passed and controlled beautifully. When we were lucky enough to get in the way, we would kick the ball as far down the field as we could, run under it and hope we got there first.

It was a bad plan, but we carried it out with commitment, and more often than not, our bad plan worked better than their good plan, because we were more committed to our plan than they were to their good one. We didn’t win the league, but we went far beyond our collective skill set, and made it to the finals. Not bad for a bad plan.

Good business works just like our Marine soccer team. Somebody did a study of sales people who make over $250,000 and found out that the #1 reason for their success was SPEED OF EXECUTION. It wasn’t how smart they were, or how much better their product was than they next guy, and it certainly wasn’t that their plan was better then somebody elses. When something came along that would help their business, they moved on it faster and made more money.

Did you ever really come up with a good plan anyway? How many business plans have held up for more than a few weeks before they begin to change because they came in contact with the real world? What you thought was a good plan was just a bad plan that you spent way too much time on before you implemented it. If you would have exposed it to the light earlier, you could have perfected it much more quickly.

Really. Speed of Execution is the #1 indicator of success in business. Get there before the next guy. There was a book written a while back that sums it up in the title “It’s not the big who eat the small, it’s the quick who eat the slow.” I never read it because the title gave it all away.

Execute Now. Perfect As You Go. I’m not advocating you run your business on bad plans. I’m advocating that you perfect every plan by getting it into practice as quickly as possible, so that the real world will inform you as to what has to change to perfect it. The key to success in planning:

  1. Get the plan into production at the very earliest opportunity.
  2. Carry it out violently. (or in business terms, with complete commitment). It’s better than the plan you didn’t have before. If you just fool around with it, don’t expect to win.
  3. Perfect as you go. The problem is that we either a) think about the plan forever and don’t do it, or b) implement it immediately and then never learn and improve. The whole point of contact with the real world is to give you a better chance of turning your bad plan into a great one. Entrepreneurs love to role out bad plans quickly – it’s a great strength. They also get bored easily and rarely perfect the plan they’ve rolled out. It’s a great weakness.

Bad plans carried out violently sometimes yield good results. The number one indicator of success is SPEED OF EXECUTION. Time kills deals, and it kills businesses. Figure out the essentials and get moving. Then focus intently on constantly improving the bad plan until it runs itself.

Most businesses are stuck in Survival. The idea is to move through profitable Success to Significance. We don’t get there largely because we want to get it right before we do anything that would actually help us get it right. Get a bad plan and carry it out with commitment and watch your business grow. This will also help get you off the treadmill and back to the passion that brought you into business in the first place.

Carpe diem and all that stuff. Like the Chinese proverb says: “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is today.” Stop thinking about it, go dig a hole, and plant something that will help you grow your business. What bad plan have you been thinking about too long? Get moving on it.