Rules For Leaders #98: Don’t Fixate On The Plan

by | May 31, 2022 | Leadership | 0 comments

You’ve heard of that saying haven’t you?
A goal without a plan is just a wish

It reminds us that plans are important and necessary to success.
Yet things never go to plan.

I run trainings, workshops, and team days. All kinds of learning events.
I speak with the stakeholders to get a clear brief: what does this training/workshop need to deliver?

Then I spend time and energy making a time-based plan, detailing the activities, their purpose, the duration, and the resources needed.

And I prep.

I can’t even count how many times I’ve don’t this.

And none of them have ever gone to plan.
Not a single one.

And yet they have all delivered on their promise.
Every single one has delivered what the customer wanted.

How is this possible?
Because I’ve learned this key rule in leadership: don’t fixate on the plan.

The plan is our best guess of what is needed to create the outcome, at the time of creation.

Then reality happens:
The bus bringing the whole team to the venue is late.
There’s an (until now) hidden issue in the group that prevents progress, and it needs to be dealt with before you can proceed.
You’ve planned an activity but the group just isn’t in the right space to do it.

Your timing no longer works.
You’ve got other things you need to incorporate on the fly.
Basically, your plan no longer works.

But it’s not useless.
Because in the plan, you’ve built in the outcomes: what it is that you are trying to achieve.

So instead of fixating on the plan, creative leaders focus on the outcomes.
They use what’s happening in the group as information and create from that.

Running workshops, team days, etc is an iterative creative process. People are organic, changing, non-static beings.
When we work with them, we can’t be static, otherwise, we risk going into a tick-box exercise.

I focus on the outcomes we want to create, and then I adapt the plan and include what is happening on the day. This is why I always deliver on the promised outcomes.
Great leaders don’t have great plans. They have great adaptive abilities, and they focus on the outcome.

Be a great leader. Don’t fixate on the plan.

And yes, I’m calling myself a creative leader, yes I am. No place for false modesty in this world.

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