Before we continue with Ground Rule 2, consider what progress you’ve made with Ground Rule 1 (Be BOLD). Did you change even one thing that you were doing? If you didn’t, why didn’t you? If you did, what progress have you made toward your goal? Have you made a plan? Or even a list? Is it in writing? (Even it’s on the back of a napkin, it counts.) Take one step at a time.
Ground Rule 2 is about planning. Planning is almost invariably presented as something complex and mysterious. It isn’t. A To-Do list with one activity is a plan. A To-Do list with any number of activities is a plan.
As a project manager, I am tired of listening to people justify their failure to create a plan. I do not mean a ‘cast in concrete’ plan: there is no such thing as a plan that never changes, because no one can imagine and provide for every possible change of circumstance that could arise in the course of a project. To put it in the vernacular, “Stuff happens.” A plan is only relevant for today, and potentially until the next ‘stuff happens’ necessitates changing the plan.
For the PMs reading this: I’m not referring to the order in which activities are to be executed, but to the list of activities which is the basis for action. . If a list of activities is in order, you have the basis for a schedule, not a plan.
We need to learn from children: they plan without realizing that they’re planning. They even evaluate risk. If you watch them at play, you can see the wheels constantly turning: What if I do this instead of what they asked me to do! What will the response of the adults be? How much trouble can I get in? Am I going to take the chance? Sometimes the answer is yes; sometimes the answer is no.
Planning for the sake of planning is a waste of time and resources, but the ability to plan and to adapt to change are skills worth developing – and that everyone is certain to need.
My Rule 2 Challenge for you:
This will sound familiar. It should . In order for you to achieve Ground Rule 1, you need a plan, strategy, or process.
- Identify a goal. Determine ‘what DONE looks like’.
- Identify 3 – 5 steps that you can take immediately that will move you toward that goal.
- Prioritize the steps.
- Take action.
- Evaluate the outcome.
- Determine what celebration or reward you will have when you achieve your goal.
This summer, my husband and I will drive the Alaska – Canada highway. It doesn’t sound like much. Get in a car and drive. Find a place to stay as the whim hits you. In my research, I discovered that the likelihood that you will find a place to stay without a plan is slim, none, and not any. He would tell you that our trip has been planned with military precision. It has been. I will let you know how it turns out.
There is an old adage, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. I have no idea who the original source is but I am sure it was coined during or before Roman times. The bottom line is if you continue to do what you are doing today, you will be in the exact same spot tomorrow just a day later. It is possible that you will have not moved one inch in a new direction.
Remember: Action creates momentum, momentum creates opportunity, opportunity creates change, change opens the door to success.
Have an absolutely amazing week.
Quotes of the Week
“Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel, stride down there & light the bloody thing yourself.” Dara Henderson
“Every one minute you spend in planning will save you at least three minutes in execution.” Crawford Greenwald