Prior Proper Planning Prevents Pee Poor Performance or perhaps it should read Prior Proper Planning Produces Positive Productive Performance!
I do not know who deserves credit for the seven P’s but they really capture so much of why a good plan results in positive performance and a poor plan prevents productive performance. Enough alliteration, we get the point!
I am moved to think about several experiences where good planning was essential in order to achieve the desired results and here they are, both personal and professional. My roommate is much better in planning ahead than I am and she often books things a year in advance because she always knows the cancellation policy. Her mantra is that she would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. She is usually right.
Planned parenthood is more than an official organization and thus the advent of children can be planned, at least to some degree. What young parents do not realize are the tremendous financial and emotional costs of raising a child. If we did, some of us may not have had more than one child. Yet none of us would trade them in nor the experience we have had growing up with them. It is a terrific journey!
Family life education is an academic discipline with universities dedicating entire departments to the research and study of family systems and behaviors. I signed up for one of those in 1969 at The Pennsylvania State University and both my masters and doctorate degrees were in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Even that took some creative planning as we had no money and three young children.
In another arena which has to do with scuba diving, sailing, fishing, hiking, camping and travel, much of the planning has to do with safety, knowing what resources are needed to have a successful trip and being able to read the signs along they way. Charts, maps, a compass, a GPS, supplies, fuel, food, proper gear, clothing and equipment must all be inventoried, checked for condition and maintained properly in order for everything to work as it should with optimum performance. Air tanks and regulators, rigging and engines, rods, reels, boots, tents, lights, batteries and vehicles – all require preventive service and support as well as renewal when needed. And still, the success and joy of these experiences depend upon the individuals and their skills of application to the conditions.
Planning something as daunting as a new school or a new organization is an even more challenging enterprise but we have done that and the stories are laden with a lot of time, effort and energy invested in the planning stages, sometimes an entire year of planning. The essential ingredients in those plans have been the people who had the vision, mission and passion (see The IONS of Leadership) to garner the resources and hire the right people. As Jack Welch says, “If you get hiring right 70% of the time, you’re a genius.” I think we did better than 70% when we started and that made all the difference between succeeding and failing.
The latest trends in planning have to do with Design Thinking, and using architectural models of blueprints, as those can be altered according to needs, budgets, discoveries along the way and thus a dynamic, organic experience rather than anything rigid and unbending. The point of planning whether strategic or tactical, whether by design or default, whether by CAD or 17 different types of engineering, the point of planning forward is to realize the dream. I recall Zena Jacques quoting her grandfather's seven truths, one of which was, “Nothing ever was except it was first a dream.” Maybe Joseph Campbell said it best: “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” And finally this: “He who fails to plan plans to fail.” Simple stuff, really.