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Good plan – the basis of success – part II

The word ‘success’ can be understood in a very individual way. Some associate this as the next level in their career ladder, the others as fulfilling a great dream. Although a success has many names, there is one common characteristic, which is an aspiration to achieve it. No matter whether it is supposed to be a big or small undertaking, there is better chance for success if it is carried out according to the previously established plan. A good action plan is like a signpost – shows the right direction. In order to play a role of the signpost, the plan needs to include several essential factors, which are explained by the star diagram in a very simple way.

As a reminder – the star looks as follows[1]:



The star specifies a few determinants of the plan’s success. These are:

  • situation assessment – why?,
  • goal setting – what?,
  • procedure specification – where?,
  • plan schedule setting – when?,
  • responsibility assignment – whom?,
  • assessing possibilities of the plan execution and costs – by what?

How the star acts and can help in the particular case of Mr Iksiński as well as  in achieving goals he set for himself? Mr Iksiński works in an insurance company and run one of its branches. He holds the position of a manager, however, would like to take the next career step and become a director. For that purpose he wants to establish the action plan.

At the beginning he has to answer himself a question – why does he want to take a given action? The answer is – he wants to become a director. Yet it is not the very title that is important to him, but that what is associated with achieving it. Mr Iksiński wants to get a better position in the company and the possibility to make decisions about company-related matters. He also wants to have a larger branch, larger number of business partners and customers, and consequently earn more money.

Mr Iksiński already knows exactly, what he wants and why. Now he has to think how to achieve his goal, which may lead him to the desired position. Therefore, he has to set his goal precisely. This stage is extremely important. Because it seems to be so easy, we often devote little attention to it and set the goal only in our thoughts, which causes that it is often modified in the end. Mr Iksiński’s task is much easier, since he does not have to wrack his brains over how to get higher position. The company, which he works for, has a so-called career plan which clearly determines the conditions one should meet in order to go to the next career level that is, among others, the rank of the director as well. Looking into the career plan and its assumptions as well as knowing the current situation, Mr Iksiński knows that he needs to recruit ten new persons to his branch and enter into sixty new insurance contracts. Thus, this is the goal of Mr Iksiński and he must achieve it in order to be promoted.

Knowing the answer to the questions why and what Mr Iksiński is going to strive for – basing on the star diagram – he needs to think over where he will be put his plan into effect? Since he has his own branch, he will carry out his action above all – however not only - exactly in that place. After all, it is possible to acquire new partner or customer everywhere and at any chance. Thus the plan can be carried out also outside the branch.

At this stage we need to set the operating time which means when? Now Mr Iksiński’s task is much simplified. The career plan of the company, which he works for, specifies the time, when he is supposed to fulfil his plan to get the promotion. He has a maximum of three calendar months, starting 1 May. And so by 31 July at the latest Mr Iksiński should have ten new business partners employed in his branch and sixty new insurance contracts signed with new customers.

The next crucial aspect is to decide who will be responsible and involved in the plan. In the front line, that should be him, as the originator and the chief executor. However, all workers of his branch should be involved in the given project apart from him. After all, it is easier for each person to acquire several new partners and sign several new agreements, than for one person – ten partners and sixty agreements. Particularly if one is responsible for maintaining proper functioning of the branch, training new employees and many other tasks. Here Mr Iksiński should, however, pay attention to the essential thing. The vision of Mr Iksiński’s promotion may be not too convincing for his co-workers. Then how to encourage them to action? Napoleon Hill advises: ‘decide in advance, what benefits and advantages you will offer the team in exchange for working for your success’[2]. Therefore, one should set the goals that will be interesting for each individual, e.g. promotion, higher earnings. This may bring Mr Iksiński closer to the defined objective.

Before Mr Iksiński swings to action, first, he should assess the possibilities of the execution and costs of the plan. Is his branch active and well prepared enough in order to be able to complete such a serious plan? Is not the financial outlay too big? There are ten co-workers in Mr Iksiński’s group, however, only five of them are permanently active. If this is the case, is not the vision of ten extra people too excessive? Assuming that half of the group is active every month and these are persons who have many contacts and establish the new ones easily, bringing one new person to the company by each of them within three months should not be a problem. Mr Iksiński should, of course, consider that this kind of reasoning is only an averaged assumption. Not necessarily each of these five co-workers will acquire one new person. On the other hand, it may happen, however, that one co-worker can bring more than one person or some of the co-workers, which Mr Iksiński does not pin his hopes on, will become active. The case of the new insurance contracts is similar. Then, how Mr Iksiński is supposed to set up the plan for his co-workers, so that could get his desired promotion at the end of the quarter? The career plan will come to his rescue again. This plan also provides the instructions for Mr Iksiński’s co-workers to take their next career step. The only thing Mr Iksiński needs to know is who of his subordinates count on getting a promotion and support them in their aspirations. Hence his promotion will come naturally.

Before putting the plan into effect Mr Iksiński should estimate the costs. How much will he have to invest to get the promotion? In order to acquire new customers or partners he does not have to bear high expenditure. As a matter of fact, all materials are provided for free by a company, which Mr Iksiński works for. And the basic tool necessary to perform this action is a conversation. The larger number of meetings with potential partners or customers, the bigger chance to sign a new contract. The only thing Mr Iksiński should invest to accomplish his plan is the time, when he is supposed to help his current and future partners to execute their decisions.

Now Mr Iksiński should prepare the schematic of his plan based on a star diagram – it may look like the one below – and keep it in a visible place.


Next, this 3 months plan should also be divided into small parts – one-month, one-weekly and one-day plans. It is easier to achieve such a big goal and supervise its executing, by dividing it into small stages. A good plan is based on success. But to make it possible to achieve success, one should put this good plan into effect and supervise the progress of works. When the monthly and weekly plans are already established, one should check, how the plan goes, step by step. Perhaps after a month Mr Iksiński will deem that the number of customers increases, but he needs to put more emphasis on the recruitment. One should also remember that the career plan of the company, which Mr Iksiński works for, determines the minimum level he has to achieve in order to get the desired promotion. This assumption is supposed to set the way to his promotion. He should not restrict himself only to this set minimum though.

Meeting all the above criteria, we only have to put our plan into effect and to still remember – as Napoleon Hill claims – about one essential thing: ‘If the first plan you set up does not work effectively, replace it with the new one; if the new one does not turn out to be successful, replace it with another one and act this way until you create a successful plan. This is the stage when most people suffer a defeat, because they lack persistence in creating new plans in the place of the ones we failed to execute[3].

Sylwia Latawska



N. Hill, Myśl!... I bogać się, Podręcznik człowieka interesu, Wydawnictwo Studio Emka, Warszawa 2010.




[1] Lecture 4, Management, Zarządzanie celami i planowanie w organizacji (Organizational Planning & Goal Setting),  http://swspiz-waw.ovh.org, [19.11.2005].

[2] N. Hill, Myśl!... I bogać się, Podręcznik człowieka interesu, Wydawnictwo Studio Emka, Warszawa 2010, p. 91.

[3] N. Hill, op. cit., p. 92.