They can also feel overwhelming if we’re uninspired by the potential outcome. When we’re not intrigued by what might happen, we’re not engaged – and when we’re not engaged, finding solutions and doing what it takes to create success is very hard work. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘planning’
Planning for every eventuality is one of the leadership factors taught at West Point. While it might sound contradictory, the best planning allows the greatest flexibility. No plan survives contact with the “enemy”— whatever form the “enemy” takes — be it time, budgets, competitors, or changing conditions. Planning for all contingencies establishes the competitive edge.
Communication and planning go hand in hand. A plan is only as good as the leader’s ability to communicate it to the team, and to receive information from the team as to whether or not things are going according to plan.
Also, learning from Failure is a key skill that must be understood and mastered by the cadets at West Point. (more…)
(15 minute activity)
SAY: This exercise will allow you to focus on what works and doesn’t work for you and your organization. Let’s examine more carefully the pros and cons of taking shortcuts, versus the benefits and drawbacks of planning and preparation. We all know sometimes the only way to get the job done is to do it “now,” even if it is not done to perfection. What are some shortcuts that are currently used in your organization?
List a few of these examples on flipchart. Next, label a heading SHORTCUTS and ask for a listing of the pros. When those ideas seem depleted, move on to list the cons of shortcuts. (Note: If not suggested by the group, here’s a listing of possible responses that can be mentioned. However, it works best if you allow group members to come up with their own list. Respectful debate and dialogue will lead the group to a new appreciation of the value of each perspective.)
Elicit answers such as these:
• Doesn’t have to be perfect, just needs to be done
• Deadline is fast approaching
• Deal with the crisis—put out the fire
• Stay on top of change
• Customers want it ASAP
• More creative under time pressures
• Beat out the competition
• “Quick fix” is addictive…adrenaline rush
• Due to quickness, mistakes are made
• Quality suffers
• Shortcuts don’t allow for creativity, and change is a creative process
• Customers aren’t well-served
• Reactive response may be “knee-jerk”
SAY: Now let’s think about the benefits and drawbacks of planning and preparation to reach desired results. When do preparation and planning lead to successful outcomes? Let’s brainstorm about the benefits and barriers to preparation and planning.
Elicit answers such as these:
PREPARATION & PLANNING
• Planned strategies lead to high-quality results
• Process may be as important as product
• Pride increases with a solid approach and positive outcomes
• Avoid costly mistakes—“measure twice, cut once”
• Reflects mission & values of organization
• Can lead to paralysis by over-analysis
• Takes too long — everyone expects instant results
• Too much focus on the future draws attention away from current concerns
• Getting product to market fast is key
• Time is money
• Plans in the past haven’t worked
Now let’s discuss the following three questions:
• What corners are you cutting that may be cheating those you serve?
• What areas in your organization would benefit from more thought, planning and patience?
• For both “takes shortcuts” and “great at planning and preparation,” think of someone you know who epitomizes this trait (two different people). How would you characterize each person’s level of success…at work and in life?
~Excerpted from the Leader’s Guide to the FranklinCovey/CRM video Law of the Harvest.
Need help in this area? In Law of the Harvest, Dr. Stephen Covey uses the example of a potato farmer to make the point that, in any walk of life, your final result will only be as good as the effort you put into doing the task right. Taking shortcuts typically hurts your chances for long-term success.