I recently asked a mentor of mine about planning and how much he thought was required in order for a person to achieve success. I offer this post as a tribute to his response.
He offered that not everyone needs to plan in the same way. Some people have amazingly creative minds and what they mostly need is a dream or a vision to make something become reality. Others have highly logical, (perhaps) more primal minds that are best served by a detailed plan to help them get somewhere. As in other areas of work, it is likely that we all need some of both (dream and plan). But, even more than that, I have come to understand that because everyone I work with is different, that means that not everyone needs the same dose of both.
Imagine, then, how detrimental it is to have a company of (for instance) sales people all do the same kind of planning. I suppose a leader to could force them all to do it, but I would hope that that leader would realize that some are going to benefit from a standardized way to plan and others are not. The biggest mistake I see being made is that people will often lead others to plan in the way that seems right to them; in the way that works best for them without recognizing how this method might work for or against their people. So, let me ask you a couple helpful questions if you're leading a team:
- What is the method to your planning? Can you explain why it works?
- How are you modeling what you're asking of your team in planning?
- Where can you allow a degree of freedom to your people so long as their method achieves results?
Let us watch and listen with care. Then let us be freed to action by a great dreams and solid plans.