Have you any photos of the future?
Me neither. As far as we know, time only goes in one direction.
A life is well-lived by not looking regretfully too much in that rear-view mirror.
Hopefully, if we realise we’ve done wrong to someone, we apologise to them – if we have the opportunity to do so. There’s one thing I’d like to say sorry to my Dad for – but that ship has sailed.
Hopefully we learn lessons and don’t repeat mistakes too much. Earlier in my career I spent more time planning than I should have and less time doing than I should have.
Or, if we’ve done wrong to ourselves, we forgive ourselves.
But, most of the time, we move forward. Into the unknown. Into uncertainty. And so it is in business.
Right now, you’re probably working on a number of projects – of varying complexity and importance. You’re moving between them – using your (and, if applicable, your team’s) limited resources.
You could map out all the tasks on all the projects. But do you need to?
No – so long as you’re clear on what the next few steps are.
Taking action on step number 1 may shed light on what should come next. The feedback you get from taking step 1 might show you that the planned step 2 needs to be tweaked. Or perhaps not taken at all.
You can only do this sort of learning by doing. Not by talking. Not by planning. But doing.
One example: Recently I invoiced a new customer. And it was only by invoicing them I learnt that I needed a PO number. And it was only by requesting the PO number that they realised that they needed to set me up as a new supplier. Which meant they had to get me to fill out a new supplier form.
Another example: Recently I tried to set up a laptop fully for new contractor. But it was only by trying to do that that I learnt that the contractor had to input a code sent to their phone in order to secure access to their MS 365 account.
You could tell me lots of examples too.
Implementation is key.
Implementation moves us forward. It exposes unknown dependencies. It makes things much less abstract.
Too much planning is procrastination. Too much planning risks you getting inflexibly attached to your plan. Yes – planning is good. But only in moderation!
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