I am fortunate enough to be a volunteer Director for a yoga centre in Golden Bay, New Zealand. I have a business background and am helping the ashram operate on the admin side.
Yoga centres are usually wonderful places - full of kind people, energising practices and an atmosphere of tranquillity and calm. We don’t often think of them as businesses, but they most certainly are. Rates and insurance need to be paid, food and equipment purchased and staff paid.
Money needs to be coming in the door on a regular basis and that is usually from a combination of classes and (mostly in the case of my centre) retreats. Planning is critical to running a retreat centre. Attendees often make decisions and take leave from their work weeks or months in advance. Accommodation needs to be ready, food purchased, teachers prepared etc etc.
It was with some trepidation when we sat down to plan our year as I intended to start the conversation by talking about planning principles. Hugely important when you plan stuff – they help focus on what we want and avoiding what we don’t. I wasn’t sure how my fellow yogis would respond to this added step. But now . . . we have come up with, in my humble opinion, the best set of planning principles I have seen in more than thirty years of corporate life.
And here they are:
Our principles for abundance . . . discipline is the bedrock that supports our planning - leading to a conscious, abundant and sustainable way of life. Living with clarity. Living with ease.
- Reward inspires effort: We know that every planning decision we make will result in effort. We honour that effort by consciously understanding and having confidence in the greater reward that follows.
- We honour our plan by follow through: A plan is nothing without action. We follow through with what we say we are going to do.
- Energy is nurtured and balanced: We understand the way that energy flows during our gatherings - and therefore we consciously plan to achieve balance between what we give and receive.
- Pauses for sustainability: We consciously plan gaps between events and we recognise spiritual holidays. Supporting those who hold space to rest, recharge, reflect and prepare. Supporting the land. Supporting our buildings and facilities.
- Our plan lives and breathes: We keep our plan alive by regularly reviewing and updating. Continuously learning from what went well and from what didn’t.
- We have belief and trust: We are proud of what we have achieved and feel positive about our future. By honouring these disciplines we have belief and trust that things will unfold as they are meant to be.
They mean something to them. They respond to mistakes in the past, they open us up to a new way of doing things and they honour our values and purpose. Even the way they are written is important – put up a set of Harvard Business School planning principles and they will mean nothing.
I’m proud to say our planning went so much better once we had agreed our principles. Are we perfect planners now? No . . . but we are more content ones . . .