STP and MTPAcronyms such as STP (Short Term Plan) and MTP (Medium Term Plan) exist within nearly every Financial Services company I have worked within.
STP is the short term outlook, usually 12 to 18 months at most. It is this plan than is usually the most relevant measure of 'success' in terms of your personal performance. For example:
- Are you achieving the impairment targets by month for the FY13 (Full year 2013)
- Are you achieving your utilisation etc
The relentless STP and MTP cycle within my work life is a mirror to the same process I should be going through in me personal life.
- Setting my strategic direction and choosing what makes sense to target in the short term and medium term
- Setting specific, measurable targets that can be tracked and forecasted
- Stress testing the plan (What happens if the scenarios change for the worse)
- Having a time once a year to go through this entire process bottom up
- Having time regularly to track performance and communicate to stakeholders about the risks and opportunities
- Having time once a year to formally look back and RATE the actual performance. What went well, what are the strengths or weaknesses. What areas need to be invested in to stay on track with the longer term objectives?
The Personal STP
Setting my strategic direction and choosing what makes sense to target in the short term and medium termIn GTD terms this is a the yearly 40k feet view. What do I want to achieve (what is my personal strategic direction?) Basically - what will make me happy?
Setting specific, measurable targets that can be tracked and forecasted
How can I ensure that on those cold, dark mornings when it's raining that I'm getting out of bed and making some progress towards those lofty 40k feet dreams? Is this gym session 42 of 60? Is this the day when I'm going to achieve a personal best for "Fran"? Is this the day when a significant other and I are going to move in together? Basically when I go to sleep at night how can I say to myself "yes, today I did indeed inch closer to objective X?"
Ironically I think this sort of measurement is SO much easier in work related situations. Did we achieve impairment target of YM? Yes - in fact we outperformed by 20%. Fantastic!! Big warm feeling. The trick is coming up with something similar in a personal context.
The real trick is this measurement, tracking and forecast is the PUSH and PULL to get me to stumble, at least mostly, in the 'right' direction - especially when I don't want to.
Stress testing the plan (What happens if the scenarios change for the worse
On those really, really dark days. Sometimes a win is a small as "Did I NOT get into a fight" or "Did I at least make it to the gym even if it was a rubbish session". Small steps count some days.
Planning in advance for 'Stress' is productive. This is along the lines of "What if this happens... What would I do?"
This helps with both the 'control' aspect and the 'is that really important to me if I'm totally honest aspect'.
I have some idea what I would do if I lost my job, if I needed to drop everything to look after that friend or if the zombie apocalypse happens.
But I can also honestly say - when it comes down to it, in the total extreme... Who or what is important to me.
If my life was burning to the ground, what would I go back into the flames to save? To me, those things and ONLY those things go into my MTP.
Having a time once a year to go through this entire process bottom up
Once a year. I delete my Omnifocus personal projects and start this process again. Its cathartic. If it's important my STP / MTP will end up in a similar state. If it's not important then then it's gone.
You don't care if a business strategy is dropped? Why should you care if a rubbish personal strategy is dropped? This is the time to really embrace that mindset.
Having time regularly to track performance and communicate to stakeholders about the risks and opportunities
In work we ALWAYS have to tell somebody on a VERY REGULAR basis how we're performing. When it;s going badly it sucks (I would imagine ;p)
The same discipline should carry into personal STP / MTP. You REPORT your progress. Good or bad. Probably to yourself but ideally to your significant other (I would imagine ;p). If you deserve a kicking, take the kicking and get better. If you're being a hero, bask in the glory.
If you don't measure and report your progress. You drift off course.
Having time once a year to formally look back and RATE the actual performance. What went well, what are the strengths or weaknesses. What areas need to be invested in to stay on track with the longer term objectives?
To me this one is mostly negatives. I rate my end of year performance. What did I do well - great, why didn't you do more. What did you do badly, no excuses but why is that acceptable? What is holding you back (or who?) - why didn't you drop them.
It's not a pleasant process. But I think it's necessary... This is why I sync it to business review periods. It works well for me in terms of reminding me I need to do it AND it usually gives me a kick up the backside to draw a line in the sand, to stop procrastinating and to make the hard decisions.
And then the cycle repeats again and again... Grinding out results