Ep. 114 – How To Develop and Implement Your Plan – The Transformation Challenge

All right. Welcome to our podcast, listeners, wherever you are. This is Rob Shallenberger and I’m excited and thrilled to be with you today. What an honor that you would listen to this podcast, either in your car, or your home, your office, wherever you might be. Now, two things leading up to this podcast. Number one, the hope is that you’ve already read the transformation challenge.

If you still haven’t, go to right now and get the book. We’ll send the book to you for free. All we’re asking is that you cover the shipping and the handling. So go get the book if you don’t already have it. Number two, the hope is that you’ve been following along over the last four weeks in this podcast series as we walk through each of the six steps in the six-step process, which is part of the transformation challenge in helping you transform whatever problem or challenge exists in your life or with your team to get real results as a result of that and whatever the issue is that you’re taking on, whatever the problem or opportunity.

It could be personal. It could be professional. It doesn’t matter. The hope is to help you find a clear path forward. So some of you might be taking the transformation challenge for your marriage. Maybe it’s a relationship with your son or daughter. There’s a challenge and you want to make that relationship better. Maybe you’re trying to launch a new business, a new division, or you’re trying to increase sales.

So it does not matter what issue you’re using for the transformation challenge. The hope is that you’re following along in the process. So my assumption is that you have listened to the first four podcasts, going through steps one through four. If you haven’t, I invite you to pause right now and go back and listen to the steps, sequentially, choosing a real issue that you would like to improve in your life or in your business.

On this podcast, we are on step number five, which is to develop and implement the plan. In other words, this is where the rubber meets the road. This is your action plan in this step. Now, what is the default for most people? Most people have a problem. Let’s say it’s their relationship, whether it’s a son or daughter, a brother, their spouse, you have a problem in your relationship. What do most people do? They zero in and focus on the problem.

And then maybe, at best, they sit down and say, “You know what? Here’s the issue. We don’t have a great marriage anymore, or a great relationship with a son or daughter. We need to fix this. How do we do it?” And that is the exact wrong approach. If you’ve listened to the other podcasts, you know there is a much better way to approach this. So step number one is to start with a vision.

What is the ideal? What would you love to see come as a result of that? What does the very best look like? What is the vision? Number two, what is the current reality? So where are you at today, as a snapshot? And if there’s a gap between your vision and where you are today, your current reality, then number three is you need to figure out why. What’s causing that gap? What’s the real issue?

Because right now, in step five, if you develop a great plan, but it doesn’t address the real issue causing the gap between your vision and your current reality, the plan is not going to succeed. It may help incrementally, but it’s not going to help you achieve the vision unless it addresses the real issue causing the gap. Step number four is, once you know what the real issue is, what are some ideas and solutions that will help you solve that issue?

And now, we’re gonna take those ideas and solutions from step four and put them into concrete, actionable steps of who will do what by when? Now, there are just a couple of sub-steps in this. I’ll just say step number five. And let me just briefly walk through those and you think about how these might apply to you. So in step five of developing and implement the plan, what you want to do here is invite any final input from key stakeholders.

So, if you have a supervisor, if you have a spouse, depending on whatever issue, whose involved in this process, you may want to get some ideas and inputs from them before you develop your plan of who-what-when. What you don’t want to typically do is develop your plan of who-what-when, share it with some of the other key stakeholders, and they say, “This is terrible,” and they throw it out the window.

So get some of their input first, before you get to the who-what-when. The next part is to think about any of the threats to the ideas you came up with in step four. So, for example, let’s say that you’re gonna implement this. Let’s say that you’re a mortgage broker and you’re gonna develop and implement this new plan on how to generate mortgage leads. Well, what’s one of the threats to that?

Well, how about rising interest rates and things like that? What impact would that have on your plan over the course of one or two years? Well, in 2007, if you were doing that same thing, as a mortgage broker, it would have had a huge impact. So you just wanna be thinking about what are some of the threats to your ideas, and is there anything you can do now to mitigate some of those threats as part of your plan?

Next, what are some of the resources you need to implement those steps? So if you’re doing this with a team, and you’re gonna implement a new training program, and as part of that there’s gonna be a software, well, clearly, you’re gonna need the software to do that. So that’s a resource that would be required. Who’s gonna do the training? That’s another resource that might be required.

And you need to be thinking about this so that you can incorporate that into your plan. And the last thing that you want to do before you develop your action plan of who-what-when is to simply look back at any lessons learned. Do you have a coach, a mentor? Is there someone who’s done, successfully, what you’re going to do? And is there any lessons learned that you can draw on from their experience that you can incorporate into your plan?

And now, you are finally ready for who-what-when. What do most people do? Problem, execution. And that’s why it almost fails…we’ll say not every time, but close to every time. People fall far short of the results that they could have otherwise had using a powerful and methodical process. You’ve now got your vision. You know where you stand today. You know the issue causing the gap.

You’ve gone through some ideas that would really address that issue and close the gap. Now, you’re gonna take those and get very specific as to who will do what by when. This is your plan, right here. And when you’re all done with this, what we invite people to do is to print out the vision at the top and then your action plan who-what-when. The vision and, now, who-what-when.

And after you are done with your who-what-when, your plan, one thing that we invite people in teams to think about is have an evaluation team or red team, whatever you want to call it, take a look at your plan and identify areas where, maybe, you hadn’t considered something. So much better to figure this out in the planning phase rather than when you’re out there trying to execute.

For example, in the Pentagon, when we develop a war plan after the plan is all developed, they’ll invite in a group of critical thinkers, typically, and their job is to look at the plan and say, “Where might this plan fail?” And it’s that idea of an evaluation team or red team, or whatever you want to call it, it is a huge help to you, because you’re figuring out some of those things you hadn’t thought about prior to the execution.

And so that’s the last step in developing and implement the plan. And so let’s get into a few examples here. You’ve been following along. You have the Flying J story. You have the challenged marriage. You have our friend who was unemployed for 18 months. So let’s see what happened with some of these folks, and how they used this step to really accelerate their results and achieve their vision.

So, first of all, let’s look at the marriage. As Adam and Jill went through this example in the book, what they found was, okay, what’s the vision they wanted? They to feel full of energy, alive, and healthy, to have a relationship where they’re excited to be in their relationship and have incredible memories together. Well, what was their current reality? You heard that in the other podcast. You know, they drifted away.

She now felt more like a taxi service. He was busy with his job all the time. And so, clearly, they weren’t achieving the vision. What they found is that they didn’t plan anymore together. They didn’t have any more joint goals. They weren’t intentional and focused on making time for them. And so they developed a bunch of different ideas, which you heard in the last podcast. Now, it’s time for Adam and Jill to take those ideas and make them very specific.

In other words, what are they gonna do and when will they do it? So, whether it’s Adam and Jill or Ben and Lisa, substitute whatever name in here that you want, we made up these names, clearly not going to identify who was…you know, who this is really about. So let’s take this couple. Here are a few things that they decided to do as part of their who-what-when. First of all, key stakeholders are just those two.

Threats, the kids’ schedule, being too busy. That was really the only threats they saw as part of this. The resources required, they figured out that Lisa, in this case, we’ll just use Ben and Lisa, Lisa needs a new BYB planner. She hadn’t been doing her pre-week planning for the last couple of years. She wanted to get back to that. That was a key part of their plan. And so, as they went to work on the who-what-when, here’s a little bit of what they came up with.

Now, imagine three columns in your mind. Who on the left, what in the middle, and the column when on the right. And what you really want on the who is a name or a title. What is being very specific? So a lot of people just say improve communication. Well, nothing’s gonna change by that. These need to be very specific action steps. And then, the when is when will you do that. And you’ll see that here.

So, Ben and Lisa, who. What will they do? Invest in a BYB planner and, individually, do their pre-week planning every Sunday before 7:00 p.m. Then, review their week together before 9:00 p.m. When? Every Sunday is the plan. Again, now, on the second one, who. And all of these are Ben and Lisa. Do at least one random act of kindness for each person during the week. Ben, the next one, schedule a nice dinner to develop joint goals for the rest of the year before March 1st.

In this case, that was about a month away. So Ben was gonna schedule the dinner date for them to go sit down and develop joint goals. Both of them, identify two weekends for getaways during the year and block them off on the calendar by March 5th. Lisa, print off our family standards: no electronics after 8:30 p.m. and spend five minutes together each evening. Post our standards on the bathroom mirror and next to the computer before March 10th.

Ben and Lisa, go on a date every other week. Rotate who plans the date. Ben one date, and Lisa the next one. So, basically, they’re going on biweekly dates. Their goal is to go on at least two dates a month without the children. And then, lastly, and this is one thing you want to incorporate in your who-what-when, is when are you gonna debrief along the way? Go to dinner and evaluate the results and review progress on July 1st.

In other words, there’s an accountability for both of them to sit down and see where they’re at. Now, in the next and final podcast, you’re gonna hear what ended up happening with Ben and Lisa as they got very intentional and focused on their marriage. They weren’t just winging it anymore. They now had a specific plan of who-what-when to accomplish their new vision.

And as they went to work on this, a total transformation happened in their marriage. And they took what was already good, made it significantly better in the quest to becoming their best. You’re gonna be excited to hear what happens as that finishes up.

Now, the Flying J story. You know what happened with Flying J. The company made some bad investments. Crystal’s vision was to save the company. Currently, they’re nowhere near that. They figured out that the real issue was that they got into some pipelines that they shouldn’t have been into a refinery, the previous CEO had made some investments that never should have happened.

They sat down in a room on a Saturday. Crystal shared the vision to save the company. And so, they sat down and brainstormed the entire Saturday how they were going to do that. In step four, what are the options, the solutions? And now, they developed the action plan of who-what-when and how are they going to go execute it. And I’ll just share a couple of these. I’m not gonna go through the whole list.

The intent and the point here is they had a very specific plan, it addressed the real issue causing the gap, and they knew what would help them accomplish the vision to save the company. So here’s just three or four pieces or parts of their action plan who-what-when. Crystal, meet with the executive committee and bankruptcy attorneys to develop a plan to save the company December 1, 2008. Kirkland & Ellis & Young, Conway, Stargot & Taylor LLP.

In other words, this is a law firm that they had hired. File for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to have protection from banks and creditors, which gives them the time to reorganize the company. Do that by December 22, 2008. Who? Crystal. Affect the change of president to Crystal because of philosophical differences on how to lead the company and which direction it should take, by January 5, 2009.

Crystal and the reorganizing committee, sell the oil refinery in Bakersfield, California by September 1, 2009. Crystal and the reorganizing committee, sell the 700-mile Gulf pipeline by September 1, 2009. And I’ll just share this last one. Crystal and the reorganizing committee, find a partner through merger or sale of the Flying J travel centers by, again, September 1, 2009. What ended up happening?

They started executing on the plan, they merged with Pilot, they had a huge infusion of cash because of that, and they went to work on the plan. Here’s a leader who was faced with this crisis and dilemma of saving her company when everyone around her told her it was impossible. And yet, because she went through these logical steps, the six-step process, she did what others told her was impossible to do.

Now that they had a clear plan forward, the entire executive team was excited. The morale shifted in the company. There was a flow of energy back into the organization and they went to work to execute the plan to save the company and do what everyone else told Crystal was impossible to do. And you’re gonna be amazed at how this all turned out. This all happened in the 2008, 2009 timeframe.

So here she is, eight or nine years later. Flying J is off the charts and you’re gonna hear that on the next podcast. Who-what-when. So you can see the action plan is where the rubber meets the road.

For our business in California, the energy company that had the challenges. You might remember them from the previous podcast. Their vision was to have this high-trust relationship with the utility company, to be counted on as the go-to organization. What was the current reality? Is they were delivering nine days, the paperwork, when it needed to be delivered within a five-day window. So clearly a gap in the current reality from what the vision is.

This was eroding the trust between them and the utility. It was hurting the relationship. As they identified what was causing the gap, they found that there were two offices where they had to deliver the paperwork by hand and logistically impossible to do that within the five-day window required by the utility. The other part of it was that they were still using paper, and that simple act of using paper was causing huge delays in the process.

So as they went to work on the options and ideas, they came up with all of these ideas in step four to get iPads for every technician, to develop the software that makes it instantaneous reporting, it eliminates the paper completely. And then, they put the…we’ll just say meat on the bones, in their action plan of who-what-when. They went through the threats, the resources. They would have to have a new software. They needed an iPad for each technician.

And then, they went to work on the plan. So here’s some of what they came up with. Matt, share the six steps with the other employees and stakeholders within Eagle to make sure there’s total buy-in by June 25th. Matt and Doug, present and propose the six-step outline as a white paper to the utility and get their feedback and buy-in by July 8th. Charles Wright and Adam Edwards, get feedback and next steps from the utility leadership on the proposed plan August 1st.

This will be interesting. You’ll hear this on the next podcast. When they did that, and they presented this proposal and the six-step process to the utility, the utility about went through the roof and said, “This is incredible. Do you mind if we use this same process inside our organization? We’ve never seen something so well thought out and a plan that’s so well-developed.”

So they absolutely loved it. Well, this was an intentional part of their plan. The other part. Matt and Doug, if the plan is approved, purchase the tablets, the iPads by August 10th. Alejandro, complete all software support systems to implement the new process on tablets by August 15th. And so on went their plan. In other words, they weren’t just gonna leave this to chance. They had their ducks in a row.

And the results, as you’re gonna hear in podcast number six, next week, the results resulted in not just a million or two million dollars, it ended up resulting in tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue, and they reverted back, now, to a high-trust relationship to where they have that vision of being the go-to company for this particular utility. What changed? They had a process.

They weren’t just winging it and hoping for results, whereas most people would have gone from the problem to what do we do to solve it, the execution. They would have missed the key steps that allowed them to actually develop this action plan.

Okay, the last two examples. We have our direct sales example. This lady who had this vision. She’s in her mid-40s. She wanted to start a direct sales company, or at least by a distributor for them, a partner. And she had heard all these great stories about freedom and time choice. Well, when she got into it, she realized how hard it was and she saw why a lot of people quit and stopped in this process.

Instead of doing that, and quitting, we sat down with her for about four hours, went through the six-step process. What’s your vision? Okay, once she had that, an excitement flowed through her veins again. She was so focused on the problem of she’s struggling, she’s already talked with everyone, that she had lost sight of her vision. Step two, the current reality. Well, you heard this in the previous podcast. She had kinda drifted away. She wasn’t really doing a whole lot anymore.

She didn’t feel like she had the tools to be successful. As she identified the real issue, she realized it came down to her not having a specific plan. She had just been winging it. And because there was no plan, no results. Well then, we brainstormed some options. We looked at her close rates. What were her close rates? What did she need to do as far as hosting parties at her house? Social media, calls.

How was she gonna reach out? Developing lead generation tools. And then, we got down to this step, step five, develop and implement the plan who-what-when. And my question for her was, “As you’re developing this plan, will it solve the real issue and help you accomplish the vision?” She was thrilled. She exclaimed, “Yes. I can’t wait to get started.” And so here are just a couple of parts of her action plan who-what-when.

Karen, reach out to at least two friends or associates every day either via text, email, or phone. When? Daily. Karen set up a lunch with her successful friend who’s done this before to get additional lessons learned and ideas by December 3rd. Rob, send Karen a list of third-party social media marketing companies by December 5th. Karen, schedule four home parties during the next four months, one per month, get the dates on the calendar and invites sent through text, email, and direct mail. The target number is a minimum of 15 attendees. By December 8th. Why that number? She knew, based on her close rate, that that’s the number she needed to achieve this gold rank by March. And so on through her list.

Again, once she had a plan, she was thrilled. And I told her, “Hey, here’s one of the big gotchas. You come up with this great plan, don’t go stick it in a drawer somewhere. You need to keep this plan up in front of you. So post it next to the computer. What’s your vision? And then print out who-what-when and keep it there where you can see it week in, week out. And make that a part of your pre-week planning.”

Next week, you’re gonna see how that totally transformed her business. She took what otherwise would have been a struggling, floundering business and really, now, started moving towards her vision. Whereas, before, she said, “You know what? I’m not sure this is for me.” She was in that place where so many people are, which is centered on the problem and fading hope.

Now, the last example is our friend who was unemployed for 18 months. You went through the process in the last four podcasts. You know what his vision is, his current reality, what was causing the gap, his ideas, and solutions that he came up with on the 5K walk. And now, it’s time for Sean to put together his action plan, so who-what-when, Sean. Here are a couple things.

Revise the resume and instead of putting N/A in the Bachelor’s degree, replace it with a Bachelor’s of life. When? By May 15th. Now, suddenly, he’s no longer gonna get vetted or kicked out of a system when he’s submitting a resume because he doesn’t have a Bachelor’s degree. He now makes it through the first hurdle of the process.

Sean, shave his beard and…or, shave the beard and dress professionally for the interview. Why? You may or may not have listened to the previous podcast, but he’s about six foot three or so, somewhere in there, he had a big old goatee, and it’s no stereotyping or, you know, no branding of any kind. He just simply looked like a pretty intimidating guy. He’s big, he’s tough, you know, bald, and then a big goatee.

I said, “You don’t want to be intimidating on your interview. You want to come across as someone who is pleasant to be around.” And so part of that was to shave his goatee. Sean and Steve, meet with Steve to review my resume, identify interview questions, practice, and roleplay the job interview by May 16th. So this was all happening fast for him. They went on a 5K walk Saturday. His job interview was early the next week.

So all of this had to happen, like, right now in his case. So this one was a fast-moving action plan, whereas Flying J’s was drawn out over more of a 12 to 18-month period. But what happened? You’re gonna love what happened to Sean when you hear the results in podcast number six, the last step, which is debriefing and evaluate results. Total transformation. Here he is, 18 months, going from job interview to job interview, not able to find a job, not able to make it to many of those interviews because he can’t get through the process.

And after all this time, one simple walk with my dad in the morning, going through the six-step process over the course of about an hour, now he has his plan who-what-when. And simply by having that focus: what’s the vision, what’s the plan who-what-when, he goes out and executes and does what he has not been able to do in 18 months. And just absolutely kills it, which you’ll hear in the next podcast. So this is a powerful step.

When you come up with your step five, remember, you’re briefly gonna give the courtesy of asking, you know, are there any other stakeholders that play a role in this? Do you need to get their input? Are there any threats that you haven’t considered to your ideas? Any resources that you need to implement your ideas? After you’ve considered other lessons learned, your action plan is who-what-when.

The who, it might oftentimes be you. It also could be something you delegate to others if you’re in that type of position. The what, make it very specific. Too many people, again, write improve communication, spend more time together. That doesn’t mean anything. These need to be specific action items of what you will do, and then, by when will you do it. Who-what-when.

And again, what I invite you to do is, once you’ve done this, print it off with the vision at the top and then your action plan in three columns, who, what, when, and put it in a place where you will see it often. If you’re working with a team, review it weekly, or at least at whatever cadence or rhythm makes sense for you based on that timeline. Maybe it’s monthly if it’s a longer, drawn-out timeline.

This will completely transform the way you approach an issue. It’s no longer just hoping for results because you’re gonna build into that who-what-when, hopefully, some debrief times where you can generate lessons learned that will help you repeat those successes and eliminate the failures, so that you continually get to a better and better place as you’re executing the plan. So this is a brief review of step five.

If you haven’t done already, what I’d invite you to do is to go through the first four steps, take whatever problem or issue or opportunity is pressing on you, that keeps you up at night, and go through those first four steps. Now, get to this step and be very clear on your who-what-when. And once you’ve done that, print it out and put it in a place where you’ll see it often. Simply by doing that, you put yourself in such a minority of the population, because now you’re being very intentional and focused about turning whatever problem, issue, or opportunity you have into a concrete plan of action and execution.

Just like Liddy, what you read in the introduction of the book, she had all these intentions in her mind for about 10 years, and there it sat until she went through the six-step process, and she started to follow her execution plan on how she was going to build a school in Rwanda and empower these youth with the tools to help them break the poverty cycle. Ten years of sitting in her mind versus what she went out and did in a single year once she had the plan and the process.

And I know the same power can happen with you as you get very methodical, and thoughtful, and intentional about what it is you want to accomplish in your life, in your relationship, or with your team. So if you haven’t gotten the book,, and I’m wishing you a fabulous week. Go out and make the difference in someone’s life, with your team, with a family, and even in your own life.

And that’s the whole intent here, is that one person can make a difference. So wishing you a fabulous week as you go out and do that, and we will talk with you again soon. Have a great day.


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