Planning skills are now more important because COVID has made team problem-solving harder.
This sign was in my dad’s workshop. Though a lawyer who loved his work, he also owned Ardelle, a 40-foot sloop built in 1926. And when you own a wooden boat, you have lots of projects. As a kid, I’d stand at his elbow in the shop and learn how to plan and use tools. He was very patient, and he taught me just how satisfying it is to see an excellent plan turn into something great.
Top Three Lessons (reminders, really)
- Time: Use force if necessary to make the time to plan
- Document: Senior managers should require a 1-page plan
- Realism: When you blow your plan, you cause others to blow theirs
Three by Three
Time: Use force if necessary to make the time to plan
- One hour of planning saves ten circular meetings and 1,000 emails
- It doesn’t matter if the plan is in yourhead
- You’re paid to think and to….plan ahead
Document: Senior managers should require a 1-page plan
- Just getting people to write down their milestones and ten top tasks helps a lot
- Senior people must have plans, too
- You must have an overall (strategic) plan to keep other plans from drifting
Realism: When you blow your plan, you make others blow theirs
- Senior managers should make clear how projects connect
- Most people commit to twice what they can do. Drill into total hours
- Make sure everyone knows which three projects are their priority
And One More Thing: It’s great when people know your projects go well: real collaboration, no drama, exciting results. It’s smooth sailing.
Take It From Here