I was taught at a young age that knowing where you were going before you set off for an adventure was the best way to succeed.
I know many people that have the attitude – “just take off and see where this takes me.” Some get great results, but many fail.
In today’s competitive World, taking the “throw a dart and see where it lands” attitude is dangerous, and planning is the only approach I have.
Don’t get me wrong, I used to look at a project and just went two feet in, and I took risks and often failed , but the ones that succeeded were amazing.
As I have got more experienced (older), I have come to realize that the projects that succeeded, where I thought I was “winging it” were in fact somewhat planned. I just did not realize it.
The analogy of a road trip without a map is rather out dated now with GPS systems, but I am going to use it. Plus I love paper maps, it makes me think I am in control of my destination!
I know where I want to go, and I know the timeline when I want to go, so I need to understand the best route to get me to my destination.
I spread the map open and I can see the end point, and I also see my options.
The shortest point from A to B can be perilous, so I have to decide whether the shortest route is the best option.
Sometimes when you try and short cut a path, it can take longer because the dangers and road blocks can slow you down and you exhaust yourself so that when you arrive you cannot enjoy the destination, or even worse you don’t make it to the end.
A journey should be planned, and the logistics of what is needed pin pointed.
First you need to know who is traveling with you, and who you will need as you meet challenges and milestones.
The team you put together is so important so that you can call upon their individual skill sets.
Mapping these on your roadmap is essential ahead of time.
There are always great stopping points along the journey.
For example, if you know you have a long stretch without fuel stations, ensure you have enough fuel in the tank to get you through that part of the journey.
During your adventure you may need to pick up different supplies, get repairs and even passengers, so knowing what is needed ahead of time can be useful and pinning them on the map will maximize your efficiencies, and potentially save you time and money.
On some journeys you may have to take into account the local population and are there cultural differences or language barriers that could either get you into trouble or slow you down?
Knowing your audience is key to a successful project. Take the time to understand who you will be communicating with, and what will make the project (journey) go smoothly.
There are always detours, or delays in any project and anticipating them can help keep the journey moving forward. Sometimes you have to back track to go onward, but having a plan for these situations is critical, and can save a lot of stress.
Having options is very helpful. With every option you need to go through the same exercise as you did with your master plan.
The journey is one thing but what you do during the journey is also essential.
We will cover this in other posts.
Planning helps you achieve an initial go forward strategy, knowing that you may have changes and setbacks.
Having a plan gives you structure, and allows you to be prepared for unforeseen situations and pivot to your alternative to keep on going minimizing delays, and potential failure to meet your goals and objectives.