What you can learn from the great Napoleon’s catastrophic failure to plan his work and work his plan!

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by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

When you think of Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the French, you probably think of

* military genius

* conqueror of Europe

* creator of the Code Napoleon.

All this is true.

But what is also true is that Napoleon was a gambler, not a planner; a man who lost an empire because he was unwilling to set a practical, achievable objective and do what was necessary to get and hold it.

1813

By the spring of 1813, the Napoleonic empire, so very new, was already on its last legs. Napoleon should have been planning how to keep what he had which, after all, included la belle France. His chaotic finances, military weaknesses, and the national desire for peace provided reason enough to consolidate his possessions and plan for another day.

The whole of Europe, including the Allies who opposed him (Russia, Prussia, Austria, England) wanted peace, and they were willing to accept Napoleon’s continuance in power (with certain conditions) to get it.

However, Napoleon was a gambler, not a planner. He was simply unable to set a realistic goal and work towards it, even if he could as a result, have his dynasty endure in France.

Oh, how he needed to listen and adhere to the sage counsel the Shakespearian Duke of Burgundy gave to King Henry V:

“Why that the naked, poor, and mangled Peace, Dear nurse of arts, plenties, and joyful births, Should not in this best garden of the world, Our fertile France, put up her lovely visage?”

But Napoleon would have none of  it. When his military talents procured a victory (as they did in May, 1813 at Lutzen) he insisted on more. When these talents failed him (as they did at Leipzig in October, 1813) he would not accept less. This was not statecraft… it was mayhem.

The whole of Europe except one man yearned for peace… but this one supremely selfish, disorganized and myopic individual… insisted on war, exasperating all, while ensuring ultimate failure for himself.

Had he, in the turbulent days of 1813, planned for the continuance and stability of his dynasty, he could have had it to the general joy and jubilation of Continental Europe. He simply needed to say “J’y suis. J’y reste”, as Field Marshal MacMahon did at the siege of Sebastopol in 1855; then set about making it happen.

Are YOU a business gambler? Or do you plan your work and work your plan?

You KNOW the value of business planning. You know the planners get more and keep more. However, like most people planning is something you just can’t seem to get around to doing. Instead, like Napoleon, you proceed without a clear objective and relentless focus. In short, you muddle through.

This was catastrophic for Napoleon… and it’s not smart for you either, especially in an economy as weak and uncertain as we have now.

So, today resolve that you will do something the great Napoleon couldn’t do: plan your work, work your plan, and emerge as more successful than the emperor himself. Here’s what you need to do:

1 ) Set a clear objective.

You need to know where you’re going and when you plan to be there.  If you don’t know where you’re going and when you plan to arrive, just how do you expect to succeed? A clear objective is a must.

2 ) Write this objective. Don’t just keep it in your head.

Written objectives are the ones that get achieved; the rest are forgotten. I bet you don’t have such a written plan now. Change that at once!

3 ) Write down precisely how you intend to reach this goal.

Again, specificity is key. You must say how many units you plan to sell… and keep to this specific schedule each and every day you wish to reach your goal!

Note: if you miss a day or two, don’t give up and throw the baby out with the bath water. Humans fail… but we can get focused again and succeed.

4 ) Make sensible revisions in your planning and execution.

Business conditions change. You must change with them. For instance, when circumstances are bad, you must improve your offers to improve your cash flow. When circumstances have improved, you should consider price increases. The key is realizing that changing circumstances necessitate changes in your goal and the way to achieve it.

YOU can be more successful than the Emperor himself

Napoleon failed. The man with the golden touch was lacking the one thing he needed for success and was so obviously lacking: judgement. He who had dazzled Europe… did not know how to contain his hubris and turn it into sensible, achievable policy. Thus, he lost all.

Learn from the great man’s titanic error.

Plan your work. Work your plan. Evaluate. Maintain what you have… always move ahead… but never gamble. In this way you ensure your success. What’s more, because of your planning and focus, YOU will enjoy the success the great emperor himself forfeited.

Napoleonic resource

For one of the best books (and the best written) on Napoleon and his family, consult “The Bonapartes” by David Stacton. Simon  and Schuster, New York. 1966. It’s a very good read.

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About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc.,where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Attend Dr. Lant’s live webcast TODAY and receive 50,000 free guaranteed visitors to the website of your choice. Dr. Lant is the author of 18 best-selling business books.

Republished with author’s permission by Graham Lee – The Income Zone

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