Conferences this early in the year are focused on the strategy for the year ahead, the business plan, sales plan and marketing plan. How do you ensure the execution mirrors the plan developed?

The event brief for this week’s sales conference was just that, “ How do our sales teams create a sales plan that will see them hit their goals for the coming year?”.

Well, it’s not the sales plan, or in fact any plan that’s needs to be created in a way that can be achieved. It has a lot more to do with how “you” will achieve it. And that’s the part we all miss.

It’s one thing having a strategy that covers all required objectives and assumed challenges that have the potential to impact the success of the plan. However, actually executing the plan is the greater challenge as it is generally ourselves that stand in the way of a success.

As an adventurer that runs wilderness mountain ranges that span entire nations, I have to do a huge amount of planning for a project that can last for several months. There is so much that can go wrong and a plan is essential to make sure it all goes right. However even with all the planning in the world, I nearly lost my life because I was standing in the way of the plan.

It was when I set the record of being the first person to run New Zealand’s Te Araroa Trail, a 3,054km mountain wilderness trail , that travelled end to end of both islands. I had been warned repeatedly about a particular section that was always known for its horrific weather conditions and virtually no emergency access of any kind.  Highlighted by a number of experienced mountain guides found perished in these dangerous parts.

Warnings and plans in place, I made sure I had all the necessary gear to both run and sit out any adverse weather, that the mountains might throw at me. I had emergency gear and GPS devices to make sure I was on track to knock off the 280km section in the three days planned.

However, all that planning was a waste of time. The rain came down sideways, lightning struck and hit all around me and the fog was so thick I couldn’t see my own feet. I started to feel more than a little out of my depth and fearful as to what might happen.

All of a sudden (*&^%$#@%^&*()(^%%FHUH*^^#IJ..........................

I was lying on my back looking up at the thick grey fog above me. Feeling nothing at all. I expected a hand to pop out of the clouds with a deep voice and say “welcome”.

What had happen was that I had tumbled 80 metres down a mountain side, only to be saved by two small rocks that my pack had lodged itself on before a 400m drop off a cliff face.

An accident? No, I was standing in the way of the plan. I hadn’t planned for what happens when I get uncertain, uncomfortable and fearful. My attention was on other things far away from the strategy of getting through these parts safely, and with that a single trip nearly ended horrifically.

Sticking to a plan means we have to have a mental plan for when things are uncertain or it will be “us “ that stops the original plan from happening .

Richard Bowles works in the field of progress. He has an extensive and unique background when it comes to how leaders, their teams and entrepreneurs push through problems, challenges and difficulties to gain and sustain results.

To find out more and to see how Richard may help your business or | @runpreneur