Monday, 19 November 2012

Makings of a Leader (Edition 3) : Adequate Planning Preparation

So we all have been to a building site before and have seen what takes place there. You see brick piles, sand, concrete, cement and some other building material depending on the stage the building is at.
The presence of building material on a site is evidence of planning that has been put in. the planning resulted in the building owner looking for enough resources to finish the building.
As clear as it is that no man will embark on a building project without planning for it so should it be in your leadership journey. Never embark on any project without planning for it.
A leader who pursues goals and objectives without adequately planning for it is surely headed for disaster. That is another sure way to self-destruction and failure.
In the book, The Art of War, Sun-tzu speaks of how important it is for generals to prepare for any war before they undertake it. “Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations before the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes only a few calculations beforehand. In this way many calculations lead to victory and few calculations to defeat,” He says.
This may seem quite obvious to the reader but it is a very important topic. In any leadership journey do not neglect the need for careful planning.
Careful planning is important because it gives you a clearer picture of the job at hand before the implementation. Most managers or leaders who skip this critical stage are continuously involved in the painstaking task of crisis management as a result. They rush to implement unplanned projects and in turn meet many unexpected circumstances at the end all they are doing during implementation is damage control.
If however careful planning is given at the right time during implementation time things will just fall into place while most of the potential threats will have been foreseen during planning and therefore prepared for. This reduces the damage that will be dealt by these threats compared to a totally unforeseen threat.
All the people you see in your daily routines that always seem so busy fixing up things doing disaster management are people who fail to appreciate the importance of planning. They are always taken by surprise by events. Simple things like letting time fly by unproductively then the next moment you are running around frantically trying to make it for some important deadline in time.
From a snapshot view planning seems time consuming, tedious and unnecessary but eventually the costs of not planning far outweigh the costs of careful planning. It is always true that a stitch in time saves nine.
Some of the readers might be Management of Business Students or Management graduates who have had an interaction with a topic or two on planning and felt that it was only meant for the confines of academic purposes. They are wrong! We are required to plan on a daily basis. What to put on, how we will use our time, who we will see, what we will eat, how much we will spent, how we will achieve our dreams, etc. if you fail to plan for even these little things you might be faced with a regular upset as events will go in a way you do not desire.
Now as a leader you will be required to plan further than the rest. Besides the daily mundane planning that we all must go through, leaders have an extra task. They plan for the achievement of goals and objectives; they plan for growth of self, organisation and followers. Failure of a team is ultimately the leaders responsibility. You should have planned for it and seen it through. You should have devised ways of getting at the goals effectively and efficiently. You should have carefully looked into all the detail and be satisfied before implementation.
If any team does not perform, the solution is not firing everyone else instead it is replacing the leader with a more able one. This is because it has been shown that the same team can either achieve success or fail depending just on the team leader. Professor E.H. Guti in his book ‘What Every Good Leader Should Know’ says, “A team of sheep led by a lion will defeat a team of lions led by a sheep.”
Remember it is your duty as a leader to do the planning and direct implementation. In business circles it is the business leader and that is the manager who leads strategic planning and is ultimately responsible for either failure or success. You can develop a planning habit until it becomes intuitive.
The writer is a motivational speaker,
He can be contacted on

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