Plan it or wing it?

Nov 17, 2021 | Insights

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Last week on a regular video get-together with entrepreneurs and thought leaders worldwide, we debated the merits of planning it and winging it. Unsurprisingly, everyone had different stories to tell and viewpoints to express, as you probably do.

Coincidentally, as part of my psychology masters assignment, my tutor wanted to see my personal, SMART* objectives for the programme. As enrolling had been an impulse, a snap decision to satisfy my curiosity and further my understanding of human nature, this was a challenge. It wasn’t helped by the distaste I felt for an acronym developed in 1981 and which I regarded as outdated and constricting.

Yes, I get that having a clear plan, goals, and objectives can concentrate the mind. When I managed a sales team many years ago, we had a sales plan and targets. We ran weekly sales competitions. It worked, and we got the sales.

But many of my friends on the call saw things differently. One, in particular, described how her focus shifted every two or three years, each new focus developing from the old and requiring new skills and knowledge. I suspect she had long-term aspirations but no big life plan. However, she recognised the central role of change and its opportunities to serve her clients and make a difference in new ways.

So don’t be pressured by fashionable trends or plans and goals that have no chance of surviving reality. Instead, try embracing change and flexibility as my friend and many others have done. Find the opportunities to make a difference in new ways. It is certainly my experience, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

* Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.

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