"More people plan for a vacation than plan their life goals or their business goals,” says Milton Paris, sales coach and business management and marketing consultant. Without a plan for your business, you don’t know where you are going or what to prioritize, says Paris, whose consulting business, Paradigm Associates, is located at 27 Cranshaw Court in Monroe Township.
Paris speaks on “Strategic Thinking and Business Planning” at the next Business Institute Seminar sponsored by the Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce, on Tuesday, August 15, at 8 a.m., at the chamber office at 1A Quakerbridge Plaza Drive, Suite 2, Mercerville. Cost: $30. Call 609-689-9960.
Paris has been a business consultant for over 40 years, working with companies in both the United States and in Europe. He also hosts a live radio show, “Getting Ahead in Business,” on Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. on WCTC.
“There’s no such thing as can not do,” says Paris. “A person or a business needs a plan, a vision. Then they need to develop goals to reach that vision — three month, nine month, one year, five year goals. But even as they work to achieve those goals they will run into obstacles along the way.”
Paris likens reaching goals to piloting an airplane. “If I want to fly from Newark to Chicago the closest route is straight west, but if there is heavy rain in the way, I may have to fly south, then head west to avoid the bad weather.” Planning for a business is similar, he says. “You want to eliminate going through the middle of the obstacles.” Avoiding many of those obstacles, just as an airplane pilot avoids bad weather, is often smarter and easier.
Paris says that there are many facets to setting goals, and to helping others reach their goals. His “Development Process” is based on the premise that to improve results and achieve goals we must first learn new patterns of work and behavior.
“But before we consistently behave differently, we must adjust our attitudes and think about, and see things, differently,” says Paris. This difference is the distinction between training and development. “Training, or education, involves the dissemination of information in order to teach a new skill or provide an intellectual understanding,” he says. “Development is getting people to use their skills, abilities, and training more effectively.”
One of the best ways to help people use their training is to go out on the job with them, he says. “I don’t just talk about sales processes. I go out with the sales people, live what they do, then talk with them about it.”
In other words, “you cannot simply teach someone to become an excellent executive, manager, or customer service provider, but you can direct that person in the development of attitudes and behaviors that will improve their skills,” says Paris.
Another method Parish uses is the “Paradigm Premise.” This, he explains, means “developing the attitudes (the want to) plus the skills (the how to) plus the goals focus (the what and why) to equal positive behavior change.”
The “Paradigm Premise” leads to his “Success Formula,” which he defines as, improved results, both personal and organizational. “Decide what improved results you want to achieve in your organization and how they will be tracked and measured,” he says. Then develop a plan specifically geared toward achieving those goals and results. Goals that are both organizational and personal, he says, “create a double win for both the organization and the people in it.”
There are several steps to achieving the goals and results you want, says Paris:
Create a vision. Deciding on your goals is the first step in achieving them, he says. Without a vision, an idea of where you want to go and what you want to achieve, no company or individual will grow beyond where they currently are and what they are currently doing.
“When you come to a fork in the road you can’t go both ways. You must go one way or the other,” he says. Knowing what goals you want to achieve, what your vision is, will help you to decide which fork to take.
Develop a strategic plan. This plan should include goals for three months, nine months, one year, and five years. This is the broad outline of how to achieve your vision.
Convert to a business plan. While the strategic plan outlines broad goals, a business plan will give specifics on how to achieve these goals.
Define, execute, and implement. It is necessary for everyone in your organization to understand the goals and work toward implementing them, says Paris. Without cooperation from everyone involved, your plan will go nowhere.
“It is like the spokes of a bicycle. If one spoke breaks the whole bicycle stops. Each one has to be working. Everybody in your organization must be aware of the vision. Knowledge is not power. Applied knowledge is power.”
Evaluate and improve. Your goals and your plan must be constantly evaluated to make sure that the goals are still relevant and that the plan is working. Improving and changing the plan is often necessary as changes are made in the organization and its goals.
Maintain a positive outlook at all costs. Paris says that everyone in your organization must have a positive attitude about the goals that have been set. In fact, he believes that having a positive attitude every day is very important to success.
Toward that end, he offers this surprising advice: “When you get up in the morning don’t turn on the radio or listen to the news as you drive to work. It is very depressing. Don’t listen to the news in the morning for a positive attitude.”
Another important trait for achieving your goals is passion, says Paris. “If you have a printing business, you want to be the most respected printing business in your region. If you are a doctor, you want to be the leading family practice. Be the best. The best way to achieve your goals is to have passion for what you do.”