Four Tips to Turn Planned Action into Desirable Consequences

Taking action in business always results in consequences. Hopefully the consequences are the desired outcome of carefully planning a strategic action or responding to the occurrence (expected or unexpected) of a business condition.

Unfortunately planned actions experience too many unintended consequences that result in crisis events, overloading key employees, stressing important customer relationships and creating operational turbulence that can threaten your carefully planned or hoped for financial performance.

So what went wrong? You planned but the results were far different than what you expected. The consequences of your actions were well beyond what you and those working for you expected. Why?

Here are four tips that will help you to improve your planning process and significantly reduce unexpected consequences.

I often find that the planning process used by many companies does not include feedback from those that will be affected – employees, customers, etc. Consequently the “idea” or plan is not well grounded on good intelligence of the circumstances that will be involved.
Unwarranted optimism is at the root of most planning error. Testing the idea generates feedback that may be contrary to what we want to hear so we limit the criticism and falsely assume that it can be accomplished.
Adequate Resources
Successfully executing a plan can be further complicated by not resourcing the action to be successful. Insuring that the right people are involved, trained and equipped with the right tools and enabled to make necessary on the spot decisions when executing the plan will significantly improve the chance of a successful outcome.
Attention to Detail
Everyone is busy and the time to crank out the detail important to the success of many operational plans is difficult for many to work into their schedules. While individuals often get personally blamed for the failure of a plan it is the leadership of the organization that needs to address this as a cultural issue. The attitude to devote the time and energy to plan details must permeate the organization.

It is not just a failure of an individual to perform but also a failure in leadership to engender the attitude that the “devil is in the details” and that all plans should receive the detail attention necessary to be successful.

Successful companies that have solid planning processes show the following characteristics.

  • All levels of the company are involved.
  • They operate on the principle that everyone is eligible to critique the plan.
  • Establish a foundation for success – training, good recruiting, specifying the correct equipment and exercising the team (people and equipment) to calibrate their capability.
  • Planning details are rigorously developed and are expected by all involved groups.

John Wooden, UCLA’s winning basketball coach, was once asked the secret to his success and he replied,

“It’s the little details that are vital, little things make big things happen.”

Take a look at your team and see if you are working on the right actions in order to achieve successful consequences for your business. Successful planning is a daily exercise and not just an annual retreat.

Do it right and make big things happen!

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