It "sorta" went according to plan... working in the spectrum.

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.

We all love when it "goes according to plan", as it confirms we know what we are doing, we get to celebrate and revel in the emotion that comes with winning - There is no denying it. We are also aware, that no matter now much we plan and cover all of our proverbial bases, inevitably "things" will not go exactly the way we had wanted or planned. This, we do not love as much.

We tend to look at success of our plans as a black or white situation, where either it "went according to plan", or "did not go according to plan"; in reality however, it is a spectrum of grey that says, and I quote, "it sorta went according to plan". More often than not, we are working in this so-called spectrum, not something black and white. 

Our plans are aligned with our personal goals or agendas and fit very nicely into what we want. Where our challenge lies, is that the world is indifferent to what we want and tends to get in the way... all of those people out their with their own plans (that may not align with yours) or simply the randomness of the universe with it's laws, weather and the such. Managing your plans' expected results in an absolute sense may not be the most effective way in achieving success, but instead managing degrees of success as an on going series to achieve your plan. In fact, it is far more important that you are moving in the right direction towards your planned results - Are you further ahead this week than you were last week?

Some thoughts for working in the spectrum that come to mind - 

Have your plan written down : Yes this may be obvious, so lets just call it good housekeeping. What is important is to have measurements in place so you can determine success of your plan and activities. This way you can determine how successful you are and your status according to plan when you say, "It sorta went according to plan".

It always takes longer then you expect (Be Patient): People (as a species*) are notorious for underestimating how long something will take to do... we underestimate how difficult it will be, we overestimate our capability, we underestimate what is needed, etc. This is even before the randomness of the universe gets involved with weather delays, recessions, real-estate busts, etc. I should point out I'm a big believer in driving urgency to stimulate innovative thinking and creativity, but not necessarily as a driver for a deadline.

It is an intellectual activity not an emotional one: Working in the spectrum, as with most activities in business, is an intellectual activity... problems to be solved and opportunities to be capitalized on, that's all. Intellectual work executes plans, not emotional work. With that said, utilizing emotional intensity can help you work through challenging times.

You continually need to be moving in the right direction: Success is measured in moving towards achieving your plan and ultimately your goal. If you find yourself moving the other direction there is much work to be done. This is why you need a plan that can be measured, so you can determine if your efforts are moving you towards success.

Do not quit: It will get difficult every so often, very difficult. If you believe in your plan and your goals, you need to work through this. Sometimes it will be simple will power (emotional intensity) that gets you through the day.

Measure often: Measure how you are doing relative to the plan... more often than not you will be farther ahead than you think and you will be able to course correct faster.

Plans do evolve: This is not to say that if things get difficult that you should change your plan but rather to say, as plans are being executed, that circumstances, as well as managing the spectrum itself may require the plans to evolve. My experience in this regard is plans tend to become loftier, as playing in the spectrum offers an infinite number of possibilities to build upon.

I saw a friend the other day and asked how it was going. He said, "Two steps forward, and one step back".

To that I replied, "Sounds about right".


* artistic licence, with a splash of humour.