When all else fails read the instructions

Every one of us has done it. You buy something that needs to be assembled and you rip the box open and pour the contents on the floor. You empty all the little packets of hardware into a big pile. At this point you attempt to lay things out so you know where it all goes. Then you actually get started on building this thing. Everything is going well then bam! A piece is missing or does not fit quite right. You get confused and look back over all the pieces in the floor. You may even say a couple of bad words and comment on how stupid the company is that designed the thing. At this juncture there is only one option remaining: read the instructions.

You probably cannot even find them at first. You left them in the box that has been thrown outside. After a humble retrieval you read over the paper and literally start over with organized piles of screws and a new found respect for the people that came up with this ridiculous piece. You also asked yourself somewhere during this transition if you really needed it anyway. Once you get going using the provided plan you find that it is going quite well. When you finish you declare that you could do another one because it was not so bad after all.

There are many managers out there who approach their responsibilities in the same manner. Whether it is a project, training, or just tending to the day to day details of the job there is no plan. Or they are not using the plan. Either way you cannot expect superior results with the fly by the seat of your pants approach. The lack of a well crafted plan is often the beginning of a disappointing outcome. Why is it that decision makers will not execute a plan? I believe it is lack of vision. I believe managers that will not subscribe to the mindset of planning with the desired result in mind are doing a disservice to their company and the staff. They rarely realize the full potential of the project.

People who do not execute a plan typically have never been exposed to the type of success a well thought out agenda can produce. Once you see that it works you tend not to go back to the old way. I believe they perceive going by a plan to be a waste of time. They often think that they do not need to follow a plan because they are so good at their job. This attitude plagues all types of businesses.

If you are not the planning kind of manager just go out on a limb and give it a try. The worst that can happen is you think before acting and the team feels like they know what is going on. If that is as bad as it gets then you are a winner. Give your team and yourself a track to run on and you will soon hear them telling people that they have a smart manager.

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