Getting punched in the face!

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

Not typically known as a sage but this is something that none other than Mike Tyson reputedly said. I’ll be honest, I agree with Iron Mike on this one.

But wait a minute, doesn’t “Proper Planning Prevent P*ss Poor Performance”? Yes it does, but agreeing with what Mike Tyson said doesn’t mean you don’t have to plan.

I’ll explain…

What it says to me is that plans need to be adaptable. It’s nigh on impossible to plan out every single finite aspect of a business or project, no matter how comfortable that might make you feel. There are far too many variables and unexpected rocks in the road for that to be an effective approach.

Notwithstanding the fact that you’d drive yourself mad trying.

Rather, a more effective approach is to have a big picture vision, and then a strategy (or strategies) to achieve it. Once you’ve taken the time to creat these, you’ll have

An overall destination
The boundary limits of what you can do to get there

Detailed plans can now be created but you can operate safely in the knowledge that if circumstances change unexpectedly, you’re free to amend the plan to suit.

I had an interesting chat with a former Royal Marines officer recently and this is exactly how elite military units operate in high pressure environments. If the commander on the ground had to radio back up the chain of command for a decision every time something unexpected happened, their speed of response would be catastrophically slow.

Instead, they have their overall objective (the vision) and the methods to use/limits within which they can operate (strategies). The person in charge at the sharp end is then able to plan accordingly and change those tactical plans as they need to.

It’s an effective way to work, but is sadly not at all prevalent in a lot of businesses. Managers don’t feel free to make decisions because the organisation lacks a defining vision. Furthermore, they are often not trusted to work within defined boundaries in order to get done what they need to.

The result? With every unexpected event (punches in the face, to come back to Mike Tyson’s pearl of wisdom) things grind to a halt while a lengthy and bureaucratic decision making process is followed.

There’s a better way. A more efficient way. A way that will result in substantially higher performance from what will be a much more engaged team. Oh and you don’t need to get punched in the face (by Mike Tyson or anyone else) to find out!

Now doesn’t that sound like something you’d rather be a part of?

positiveleadership #strategicthinking #businessdevelopment

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