To plan or not to plan - that was the question being grappled with. On one side was the argument that planning never worked and on the other side that you need a plan to get where you are going. Air New Zealand came to the rescue - “I can go online and buy a ticket for for 8 months from today and they give me a flight number, time and even seat number! They don’t know what is going to happen on that day with weather, technical issues, staff, volcanoes, or anything, but they plan to deliver!” It was settled. A plan would be written.
“But how will we ensure WE deliver?” - This is where I was called in. Taking action is a favourite topic of mine and I thought I would share 4 key drivers to taking action using the PLAN acronym.
Prioritise. There will always be more that needs to be done than time or people available. Know where you add the most value and work in that space. What will deliver the highest ROI? The 80/20 rule is well applied here - aim to maximise return on invested effort and time and resource. Knowing what needs to be be done by when helps make choices under pressure – focus on “yield” - that which gives the highest returns.
Leverage. You cannot do it all. Once you have prioritised what needs to be done then leverage your resources. Know where you add the most value and delegate, outsource and leave the rest. Leverage your time - Work to your energy levels, block time-out to focus on finishing important work. (NB - The word is “finish” - don’t leave it. 80% done is not done - laser like focus delivers 100% finished tasks)
Action. Plans do not fail - people fail to act, receive feedback and react to the results so they can alter plans as needed. Action is what gets results. Action moves you forward so you can see what is working and what is not. Action also needs ‘Awareness’ - if it is not working then ACT! The famous "Deming Cycle" includes these steps Plan-Do-Check-Act/Adjust.
Now. It used to be that “Big beats small.” Now there is a new playing field “Fast beats slow”. Do you have a culture of action? Do you talk lots or actually ‘walk-the-talk’? Is there a sense of urgency within your team? How do you notify each other - Are you in real time? How quickly every team member know what they need to?
Planning does work when you work the plan! Your mindset towards your plans affects your approach and actions - if we can help let us know.