The Over/Under on Planning

compassWhere is the balance between over planning and under planning?  We’ve seen both sides of this question, and both sides can be equally frustrating.  Let’s take a look at each of them and see if we can find parts of each in ourselves.

THE UNDER PLANNER

This is the person who does things in a quick and under considered manner.  His friends and coworkers are continually frustrated, because it always seems that more thought might have rendered better results.  He continually pushes for quick action and acts in what most often appears to be a panic.  He might even brag about how impulsive he is when describing his work style.  You might hear phrases that sound like these:

  • “I just shoot from the hip.”
  • “I always act on instinct.”
  • “My intuition guides my decisions.”
  • “Ready, fire, aim!”
  • “I don’t have time to assemble a committee to make every decision.”

These guys are difficult to follow, because they often look like a moving target.  While they often fancy themselves trailblazers, they usually end up looking more like hamsters in wheels.  They’re always running but getting nowhere but tired.

THE OVER PLANNER

These are the folks who comprise the Sales Prevention Department.  Similar to those of the UNDER PLANNER, the over planner’s friends and coworkers are also frustrated. Their reasons, however, are very different.  The over planner is usually characterized by their inaction.  She is marked by her desire to have detailed plans and strategy meetings before taking the slightest action.  She wants to consider and discuss before she considers the discussion surrounding considerations impacting the discussion.  Traits that seem common to her personality may be:

  • Meeting to plan strategy instead of acting on previously agreed upon action steps.
  • Rehashing topics which have already been decided.
  • Requesting meetings that overcomplicate simple subjects.
  • Anxiety associated with problems that have simple answers.
  • Participating in drama when pragmatism is an obvious and simpler answer.

These guys are are difficult to follow, and they’re difficult to lead.  They’re difficult to follow, because they’re rarely moving.  They’re difficult to lead, because…  Well, let’s face it.  It’s never fun to hold the leash of the dog that wants to sit.

So, what are you?  Which of these people best describes your planning style and how you make decisions?  Are you the Johnny Impulse who sets a strategic course in 30 minutes, determines its efficacy within 2 hours, has a new planning session within 15 minutes, sets a new course with new marketing materials in 1 hour, launches a press release in 20 minutes, executes on the new strategy, determines its failure in 1.5 hours, and contemplates bankruptcy by 5PM? OR… Are you the Planny Plannerton who maps out where to have dinner, what you’re going to eat, where you’ll sit at the restaurant, which wine you’ll have with dinner, what route you’ll take to the restaurant, how much you’ll tip the server (based on varying levels of best to worst service), what you’ll discuss over dinner and on the way home, and go to bed hungry (because the restaurant closed an hour ago while you were planning)?

Both are frustrating.

Look for balance in planning and doing.   {Tweet that!}  A poorly considered plan usually renders results that are as half-baked as their plan.  An overly considered plan usually results in inaction or late action which is sometimes worse.  Here are two important rules about planning (You may want to copy these down and/or share them):

  1. {Tweet that!}  
  2. {Tweet that!}

Don’t know where you fit?  Ask a friend or coworker.  They know.  Tomorrow Begins Today.

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