Planning is easy…implementing, not so much
I always say it is easy to come up with the plan, but the real work happens when it comes to getting committed to following it and seeing it through to the end. In fact, I believe this is one of the big reasons people and businesses don’t get the results they hoped for when they developed the plan in the first place.
So, why is it so hard to see a plan through to the finish line?
Loss of pressure – The reason to create a plan, is because we want to solve a problem. That problem could be anything from needing to get more sales, to finding new people, to creating a new product or service. The problem exists and in creating a plan, we are required to imagine steps needed to solve it. Before we had the plan, there is an internal pressure or strain to come up with a solution, but once that plan is laid out, the pressure subsides. Even though you haven’t implemented the steps, the problem is never as bad as what it was before you had the plan. The process of planning diminishes the severity of the problem.
Loss of the end goal – When you create a plan, you have a clear destination of where you are trying to go, or what you are trying to achieve. As you start implementing the tasks outlined in the plan, other information can come in and other decisions are required to be made. With each decision, the end goal can morph and change, especially the more people involved and the longer the time frame involved. There can also seem to be a disconnect between what I am doing in the moment, versus how this is going to help in the end. Without a continual focus on what the end goal is and why it is important, sometimes other things can take over.
Competing priorities – When a plan is created, generally the team tries to be aware of the resources required and to put in reasonable timeframes for implementation. One thing I have found is, we all have a tendency to underestimate the resources required and are generally too optimistic where time is involved. Seldom is someone delegated solely to the implementation of one project and as a result, most team members will have competing requirements. As soon as tasks in a project start falling behind, it can create a cannonball of misses, that zap the energy out of the team.
“Squirrel” culture – The last one is what I call the “squirrel” culture. It is where some new thought or idea comes into play, and everyone runs from one thing to another. This one can be especially true if you have a bunch of idea people on your team. Before one thing is done, someone has another good idea they want to explore, and the next thing you know it, you have another plan. They will always believe in the current plan and will say they are committed to seeing it through, but rarely do they ever get back to it. A team needs to be weighted a bit heavier with people that like “follow through” over those liking new ideas.
Creating a plan is exciting work, but a plan without implementation is simply a conversation. Planning is an investment, so if you want to see a return on that investment, you need to put in place the things that will see you through implementation. Check out our next article for some best practices when it comes to implementing a plan.
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