plan is not a four letter word
Published July 17th, 2013
While Hollywood seems to be (somewhat poorly) re-making everything that happened between 1977-1987 lately, I am actually old enough to remember watching the original A Team’s Hannibal character grinning and chomping down on his cigar as he declared, “I love it when a good plan comes together!”
— And, I do love it when a good plan comes together. I also love putting one together.
A good plan means probable successful outcomes….and I love successful outcomes!
So why do so many plans fail? My perspective: Lack of an actual plan.
Sometimes we mix up the plan with other key things; such as, setting the goal or assigning a champion. Worse yet – we might mistake the plan as the boring part. Not true: The plan is where all the magic happens! Okay, the plan is where all the work happens – but a good plan is often (most often) the difference between success and failure.
Simply stating your goal is not a plan. General “ideas” about what it will take or how you will get there – is not a plan. A plan should include (preferably written) outlined steps of how you will attain your goal, milestones to that goal, and designated tasks to achieve it. You may be thinking that you don’t need to actually write out your steps – it’s all in your head. True, but, it is too easy to change your mind or overlook steps if they aren’t written. Write it out. If you take the time to put this into place, you will find that you’ll work through many potential problems before you are actually in motion. That can help you avoid those areas that can possibly derail your project. It can also help you hold yourself accountable (timelines are important) and brings you back to a point in the process if you need to reset part way through.
This works for all sorts of things – personal or professional.
Perhaps you have tried to change a behavior (changing your diet, increasing exercise, eliminating a long standing habit.) We start and fail for lack of a plan. Don’t let time keep going by without reaping successful changes – life is short and there is plenty of wonderful accomplishing to be done. Let’s make the doing count!
A common claim or sense is that too much time creating an adequate plan is a waste of time. I wholeheartedly disagree. Taking the time to create a substantially adequate plan, will enable you to succeed more efficiently and with greater rate of return on your invested effort (and you don’t have to be all day about it!) Even if you are not an individual who is naturally bent towards planning – try it – you’ll like it! (For those of you who missed that, it’s a reference to a 70’s commercial.)
You don’t need to be a Project Management Professional or have an official formatted charter for your plan – it doesn’t have to be forty pages long and include flow charts and diagrams. Keep it as simple as makes sense to you, include timelines and steps to achieve your goal. Think it through as carefully as you can imagine and start to implement. It is as easy as…
1. Set a goal you want to achieve.
2. Make a plan (detail an outline of steps to achieve your goal.)
3. Follow your plan, and watch it work!