“There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.” — Peter Drucker
I selected the Drucker quotation for the title of this review because so any of the decisions that people make are [begin italics] inappropriate [end italics] to the given objectives. We make hundreds of decisions each day, at work and elsewhere. Some have implications and potential consequences much more serious than do others. In this volume, Allison Rimm offers what she characterizes as “a structured approach that guides you, step by step, through the process of defining what is most important to you and what you must do to get it. The world’s most successful businesses do this as a matter of course, and there is no more essential business than the business of your life.” Quite true.
Rimm recommends an eight-step process by which to formulate “a business plan for life.” Think of her as a travel agent to help work out all the details of what will become a journey of discovery while achieving personal growth and professional development.
These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Rimm’s coverage.
o What Is a Strategic Plan and Why Do You Need One? (Pages 5-6)
o Mission Critical (22-23)
o Mission + You = Vision (40-52)
o Feel the Pool (55-57)
o Tips for Making Your Vision Statements Glow (63-65)
o When You Don’t Know Where to Start (74-76)
o Size Up Your Position (77-78)
o Strengths: Using Your Greatest Talents (82-83)
o Weaknesses: Skills or Resources You Lack (84-86)
Digression: In The Art of War, Sun Tzu suggests that strengths be disguised as weaknesses and weaknesses be disguised as strengths. Why? You want your enemy/opponent/antagonist/etc. to avoid where you are weakest and challenge where you are strongest. That’s a cool strategy.
o Seven Fears That Can Block the Way to Achievement (89-91)
o When the SWOT Delivers News You Didn’t Expect (100-102)
o Balance and Perspective (113-116)
o Is Fear at the Root of Any Misalignment? (140-142)
o Tame the Electronic Beast (142-144)
o First Things First: Prioritize Tools (153-156)
When concluding her book, Rimm observes, “My mission is to help you to use your gifts and make your dreams come true. You have defined your destination, selected a route, and figured out what you need to fill your days with pleasure. You are well prepared for your journey, ready to step onto your oath with confidence. Have a great trip and keep in touch. It will be my true joy to hear about your triumphs. You are about to change your own little corner of the world.”
Of course, the details of such a journey vary from one pilgrim to the next. Dreams are very important and I agree with Allison Rimm that they should not be left to chance, that achieving our goals doesn’t just happen. “It requires a strategy,” an appropriate strategy. There’s one other point that needs to be stressed. We interact with dozens of different people each day. Whether or not we achieve our own goals will probably be determined by the extent to which we help others to achieve their goals. Therefore, I hope that those who read this book will make effective use of the information, insights, and counsel it provides but I also hope that they share what they have learned with others who also need “a business plan” for their lives.