To plan or not to plan?

By: Lisa Koebcke

I had a call with a vendor I work with today who said his least favorite word is STRATEGY…he might as well have scratched his nails down a chalkboard I cringed so badly. What do you mean, I thought?! I know that most people I encounter don’t understand the importance of a good strategy, but to loathe the word is an entirely different level. It acknowledges that you understand the importance and are choosing to ignore it. My identity, my expertise, my reason for being (well, not really, but you get the idea) is to create solid strategies because I believe that is what creates success. So, I wanted to write a blog that reminds everyone why the concept of a STRATEGY is so flippin’ critical. By the way, his motto was to just to “get shit done” – in other words, execute like crazy and hope it all works out. I get it, even if you make a wrong turn, you can just keep executing your way out of it…BUT with a solid plan, you ALWAYS know exactly where you are and where you are going…

  1. A strategy sets everyone up to succeed: A strategy starts with a vision and works its way backwards. You figure out where you want to go and who you need to get there. With the right project management, you are more likely to hit your end goal and exceed everyone’s expectations.
  2. A strategy allows room for error: You may think that just getting shit done allows from more agility, but in reality, a well thought out strategy gives you room for error in a way that protects you. With a good plan, you know the possible pitfalls and can create contingency plans ahead of time – plus you will also have a clear understanding of your budget, timeline, and limitations.
  3. A strategy keeps things moving in the RIGHT direction: When you know where you are going and clearly set the path, you can assume that as long as the tasks you’re getting done follow the plan, you are always headed in the right direction. The problem with just knocking out tasks for the sake of working is that you can be headed any direction, including the wrong one.
  4. A strategy let’s you measure outcomes: What is the point of putting forth ANY effort if you can’t measure your success? With a strategy, you can test outcomes, but with tasks, you hope they work and lose money when they don’t.
  5. A strategy creates better relationships: This is so important! With a strategy, you can PLAN for how people will interact with your brand and form their overall opinion of you, your product, your team, etc…You want their experience to be flawless and make sense both visually and verbally.

I could literally go on all day, but I’ll spare you. The bottom line is try to have a balanced perspective when it comes to getting shit done and having a strategy. You can have the best of both worlds with the right project manager in place. It’s the difference between being proactive or reactive. Which do you prefer?

Thanks for reading!