Richard Maun – What’s Your Plan?

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What’s Your Plan?

3 June 2018

If we were to attempt building a house without a properly measured drawing how well would we fare? Would we even attempt to do it? Just for fun?

Probably not. The bricks would be all over the place, the windows wouldn’t fit and the roof would be a disaster to sort out.

Teachers need to have lesson plans, in order to stay on track with the syllabus. Armies need plans too, as wandering round a battlefield aimlessly, isn’t a great tactical initiative.

Plans and planning are part of a successful way of life and yet…

Many businesses don’t have a plan. They might have a weighty strategy document that sets out a broad ambition and is liberally sprinkled with important goals. However, how often have you seen an actual plan? With steps and milestones? They’re rarer than you might think.

It’s as if the effort required to write the strategic tome drains all other mental faculties. A strategy that is published with a fanfare (and maybe a few nibbles to help it along) and then is left on a shelf to gather dust is really no good.

We can argue that a useful guiding business document needs to have one main ambition, three key goals and a practical plan for delivering them. Plans need to live in the real world and take account of actual resources and not make the mistake of assuming staff will work harder to make it a success, when they are already toiling away at full tilt.

Evidence for insanity, or at best lazy thinking, concerns the effects of leave allowances. If we have a department of 10 people and each person is allowed 4 weeks of annual leave then practically speaking we have 9 people available at any one given time (once you remove statutory holidays and allow for some sick leave). Any plan that is based on 10 productive people is going to fail, given that someone has to be on leave all the time to fit in everyone’s entitlement.

I remember arguing this point many years ago with a senior manager, who couldn’t understand why productivity was always below his expectations. His plan was flawless, apart from the glaring flaw, which I handily pointed out, much to his irritation.

Plans need to be grounded in reality and not wear dark glasses in the vain hope of avoiding being blinded by basic maths. Employing 11 people to deliver the work of 10 may leave a sour taste in the budget holder’s mouth, but it is something that must be factored in for any plan to  work.

What is your plan? What actions do you have sequenced, as steps to success?

I have a plan. With actions. And an achievable timescale. I’d prefer to reach my goals sooner, but know that if I bend the numbers around to suit my ambition, I’m just setting myself up for heartache. Better to work consistently in the real world than gallop through a fantasy world and be disappointed.

Do have a plan. It only needs to be on one sheet of paper. With actions. Nothing fancy. Keep it simple.

Next week:  Really?


Click cover to view details on Amazon


Riding the Rocket

How to manage your Modern Career

Published 2013 Marshall Cavendish



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How to Keep Your Job

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Published 2007 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish



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Published 2006 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish


© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact