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Three Secrets to Successful Planning

Three Secrets to Successful Planning

The plan is nothing, but planning is everything

- Dwight Eisenhower

Presidents, skilled engineers, and neurosurgeons alike would all agree that planning is the one skill that they could not succeed without. When stakes are high, leaders lean on a refined planning process to help guide their decision-making. Planning creates clarity for teams so everyone knows their role in achieving the mission. After a wildly successful promotion, one owner declared, “We are like a well-oiled machine.”

Yet despite what we all know about planning; research shows travel agency owners spend far too little time in planning mode. In a recent poll asking owners about planning, 54% responded:

I fly by the seat of my pants, but somehow it all gets done.

If this sounds familiar, you are running your business on pure adrenaline. It can be exciting. It works for a while but eventually leads to exhaustion and burnout. Our mistake is putting too much emphasis on the plan rather than the art of planning. We assume that creating a business plan is a time-consuming undertaking. The mere thought of finding a block of time sends us into procrastination mode. To make it worse, the plan that took so much energy to produce is often put into a drawer or saved as a file. The next time “the plan” sees the light of day, so much has changed that it feels out of touch. Recently, the planning discussion came up in a coaching session with an agency owner. He was frantically trying to prepare for a team meeting, back-to-back supplier meetings and a consumer event with too few people attending. He was overwhelmed, and it was weighing him down. Sensing a more significant issue at play, I asked him when he typically planned. He said in one of two places. “In the shower or on my way into the office.” While a good plan takes a little longer than a hot shower, it might surprise you that it doesn’t take as long as you think. Planning comes down to three things: the first step, the last step, and the most important next step.

  1. The first step: a clear and compelling picture of the goal.

  2. The last step: is how things will be different and how you will feel when you cross the finish line.

  3. The most critical next step. The one big thing that will make the biggest impact.

Gary Keller, author of The One Thing, asks the most powerful question in planning:

“What’s the one thing I could do that would make everything else easier, or unnecessary?”

Here are three secrets to successful planning:

1. The secret to planning is to consider it a verb rather than a noun. It is thinking, leading, doing, and continuously improving.

2. A good planning process takes 15 minutes a day.

  • Get everything out of your head. Keep going until you have jotted down possible options to get done in a day.

  • Next, group similar activities together. Create bigger priorities that will move the needle rather than small random tasks. You should have at most three to five priorities a day.

  • Now, spend your budget of time on what matters most, starting with the one thing that may eliminate other things on the list.

3. Planning with a bias for action. Tom Peters, the author of In Search of Excellence, declared that the most important attribute for successful leaders, in order of magnitude, is to have a bias for action.

Consider creating a do list rather than a “to-do” list. The difference is ruthless prioritization, followed by immediate action. If you are not going to do it, don’t include it. If you include it get it done. If you don’t get it done, only move it once. If it doesn’t get done the second day you’ve pushed it, delegate, defer, or delete it.


Are you a high-achieving agency owner or host agency leader ready to grow your business to the next level? It’s time to build your dream team!

I’m hosting a one-of-a-kind “Lead Your Team” Masterclass for agency owners with teams. This 90-minute workshop will uncover the step-by-step roadmap to leading high performance. 6 Essential Skills every leader needs to navigate the future of the travel industry.

Learning Objective:

Attendees will learn essential insights into leading a thriving team in a post-pandemic era. You will be equipped with new skills to recruit and engage your team to achieve their dream travel business.

You will also receive my proprietary Recruitment Roadmap, Ideal Advisor Workbook, and other unique tools so you can take immediate action!

Wednesday, September 27th, 10:00 am PST, 1:00 pm ET

Tickets are $40.00. Space is limited! Sign up HERE.

Who is the Build Your Dream Team Masterclass for?

  • You are an agency owner, leader, or host agency with big dreams for building a high-performing team

  • You are a high achiever but feel overwhelmed by your workload

  • You seek expert advice on onboarding and engaging with your team

  • You are struggling to find the right people for your team

  • You hoping to get greater engagement from your team

  • Agency owners who are tired of doing the heavy lifting and need a better way forward

Who is this Masterclass, not a fit for?

  • Solopreneurs or advisors with no plans to grow their business with a team

  • Owners looking for a "get better pill" or a quick fix

  • You are not interested in learning a new approach to your business with fresh eyes.

  • You are not ready or willing to be fully upfront about where you are at right now.

If you are ready to achieve incredible success and want a fresh perspective, new insights, and strategic tools for Leading Your Team, mark your calendar for September 27th and sign up for our class!

Space is limited; sign up today! I cannot wait to see you there!


  • Order 10X My Travel Business here.

  • Get your copy of my book that will help you soar... Flying Colors - US - here! CAD - here!

  • If you know someone who would benefit from reading this newsletter please share this link.

If you are interested in knowing more about my 2023 programs, check out: geraldine@geraldineree.comThis is a text block. You can use it to add text to your template.

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