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Plan? Just Ready Fire Aim

Supervisors and Managers often get picked for supervisory and managerial roles because they are decisive. And, they may also be recognized for their individual productivity.

It’s only after fact, that it is recognized that their approach to “fixing” ability is often 1) contained to their own “do it” manner, 2) a predisposition that if they want things done right, they have to do it themselves, and/or that they lack a “big picture perspective” that is short-range rather than one of considering the possible consequences of their decisions.

So, how might a Supervisor of Supervisors develop a more effective decision-making style?

One Coaching approach might be to give a history lesson from US history, the D-Day invasion from World War II (or by having the new supervisor watch Saving Private Ryan). Dwight Eisenhower was the Supreme Allied Commander of all forces battling the German armies in Europe. The D-Day invasion was the largest in history. When asked by a reporter what was special about this PLAN, Eisenhower replied “The plan is everything. The plan is nothing. He went on to say that the Planning Process was critical to success. But, if you had a good plan; but failed to implement it with discipline you would typically fall short of the goal. If you had a bad plan, and put energy and had a disciplined implementation; a bad plan would also typically fall short.

Eisenhower knew that it takes a disciplined and committed implementation of a good plan in order to likely achieve success. That in its development, the planner(s) anticipate the “unknowns and the unexpected” and how to deal with them. That is when the successful achievement of an objective can be realized.

How important is planning? Let’s shift to mountain climbing. Think of Mt. Everest or a Mt. Kilimanjaro expedition. Climbers routinely have a plan for going up the mountain. But, (ah, there’s that word again) want to guess when most of the tragedies of injuries and death occur? It’s my understanding that they are on the way down. (Your homework is to come up with what might cause this to happen.)

So, help those people that you train to appreciate “the power resident in planning” and in doing so, to appreciate the “complete” Planning Process”…getting there and getting back. Not all journeys are one way.


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