The Odds Of Reaching An Objective Go Up If You Plan, Write It Down, And Follow Your Plan

The movie Tora Tora Tora is the story of the bombing of Pearl Harbor which pulled the United States into World War II. In the movie one scene shows a group of Japanese officers on a ship relaxing, and one of the group goes to the stateroom of the planner of the attack to ask him to join them. He declined. He was sitting on the floor with a towel over his head saying things like "What will we do if enemy aircraft are spotted early", or "If we come in form the South........", etc. He obviously has been doing this for hours on end. I have always carried that picture of a real planner in my mind.

Planning is one of the toughest jobs we have to do. Our whole day-to-day experience is based on solving crises. We get very good at handling things as they come up, and it feels very unnatural to spend a lot of time before you start a project just sitting there and thinking about the steps you will be taking --- but it does make things turn out better (sometimes a lot better). Every snag you visualize in your mind permits you to think your way around it before it happens. If you didn't think it through, you would have to face it in the real world. It is so much easier to do it in your mind. That's what planning is all about.

The process gets really effective when you set a goal, think through the steps needed to get from here to the goal, write it all down, then record week-to-week what is actually happening. Compare the plan to the actual and if you aren't tracking your plan think through a new plan, write it down, record what actually happens, etc., etc., etc. Actually there is no such thing as planning, only re-planning. The effort is laborious but the results can seem miraculous.

©  2002 John D. Toellner, All Rights Reserved