No MBA mumbo-jumbo, just stuff that's worked through 30 years of team-building in business and the military.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Less Preparation

I’m not a fan of sound bites - most of the time they’re too simplistic, and they often hide a lack of understanding of complex things. One example is something I hear frequently: “You’re either preparing or repairing.” 

I disagree. I think the best leaders have a bias toward action, not prep. I think the best plan is the good one that’s acted on now, not the great one that will take another month to perfect. Too many leaders bog down in crafting the perfect vision statement, the best possible long-range goals, and the most intricately detailed plan. They become masters of project software and PowerPoint and budgets, while their teams trudge along doing the same old things.

My preference is to prepare enough to get started, and then reinforce success as I go. I plan the first phase in detail, shape the rest in broad brush strokes, and then identify the decision points that will arise. When I near those decision points, I plan what’s next based on real-world factors, not planning projections. The key is to prepare enough that we can go wherever we’re winning.

My rule of thumb is that doing should get at least 75% of my time. Anything less puts a burden on my team.

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