Weekly Thought – November 9, 2021
Fred learned the value of planning from his mentor, Maxey Jarman. He also watched the leadership and executive habits of successful men and women, drawing on them for his own approach. In true Fred fashion, he distilled the subject down to three points which are useful and applicable.
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Elements of Planning
I was in New York riding down to Wall Street in a cab. A priest stopped the driver asking, “Son, which way to 15th street?” The cabbie very politely explained the directions, let the priest go across the street in front of his vehicle, then turned to me and laughed. “He knows the way to heaven, but can’t get to 15th street!” Planning is both short and long range.
Effective planning includes three elements: simplicity, flexibility, and objectivity.
1) Simplicity. A lot of times I have people come into my office to tell me what they are going to do. Many times I stop them and don’t let them tell the story. Why? Too often they lose steam just telling me. I have seen people experience the thrill of the action just by telling me then avoid the execution. “Just surprise me” is what I usually say. “Tell me about it after you have done it.” Planning, if it gets too complicated, get to be an end in itself and not a means to accomplishment. Complexity is often an ego problem. When someone’s plan becomes too complicated, check for the ego involvement.
2) Flexibility. Henry Ford and his Model T exemplify the problem of rigidity. Ford definitely had a plan – the Model T. He liked it and for years so did the buying public. The jokester said, “Henry Ford offered the Model T in any color the customer wanted – as long as it was black.” Market trends changed and Ford suffered because the plan that once worked beautifully no longer satisfied the buying public. A good plan should be flexible enough so that circumstances don’t have to be forced to fit. Instead, the flexibility of the plan should allow changing circumstances can alter without self-destruction.
3) Objectivity. This means deleting the emotional aspect as much as possible. Common sense should be a key ingredient of the process. To increase the odds of a successful outcome the scientific approach is recommended. I recognize personal interest can never be completely removed, but a workable plan is better devised from an emotional distance. Enthusiasm can sell plans, but strategic thinking should take the lead in the development. Planning should be an exercise in improving the law of averages, don’t you think?
This week think about: 1) Which of the three elements is my strongest? Weakest? 2) What is my planning process? 3) How effective am I in both planning and executing?
Words of Wisdom: “Effective planning includes three elements: simplicity, flexibility, and objectivity.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Plans fail when there is no counsel, but with abundant advisers they are established.” (Proverbs 15:22 NET Bible)