This is on page 61 of Managing with Aloha, and I’ve been thinking about expanding on it for a while now. To be frank, its absence is driving me crazy:
Ho‘omau demands managers have a plan
Ho‘omau challenges managers to have a carefully crafted workplace plan that makes good business sense.
You cannot have a strategy that will both motivate and support your staff without sound business objectives to ground you.
Working hard is not good enough. You have to work smart. Employees expect it of you.
You need a great plan with evolving dynamics of its own, responsive to the ever-changing needs of your business.
It’s a significant part of your responsibility as both leader and manager.
It also ensures that your business will not fall prey to apathy, boredom, or complacency.
In the book, I continue to talk about how no paddler would even consider getting into a 6-man outrigger canoe headed out in rough seas, with a steersman (the captain) who does not have a plan. It may not be boring, however it certainly would be foolish.
Expect intention, not blind obedience.
Unfortunately, the norm in far too many businesses, is that managers go through the motions of company plans they did not co-author or totally buy in to. Even worse, these managers may work, and thus manage others blindly— with no plan at all.
To have a good plan, is to have intentional effort, with all workplace attentions being where they should be— on mission, on vision, and on purposeful growth.
To have a good plan, means you don’t waste much time, and you don’t waste human energy, the most important resource any manager has.
I have more on this going through some mental gymnastics in my brain, and I need to exercise it all out before spilling it on the page and sharing more with you. Meanwhile, I stumbled across an article written by Tim LeRoy that presents his Five Point Manifesto for Doing Better Business with Businesses, and I think his point number 4 is spot on:
4. Make plans.
“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.”
If you don’t have a clear and realistic plan no one can hope to know where you’re going, so the first question should always be ‘where do we want to go?’ And once you know that you can make a map to get there.
It needs to be written collaboratively and written down. It doesn’t count if it is sitting in the head honcho’s head and it doesn’t count unless it takes in everybody. What role will the accounts department play and what do tech support have to do? You can get it all down on two sheets of A4. No more.
If you want to grow your company in any way, I’ve found that it’s best to make a plan in three simple steps; know, know and be known.
You have to know yourself — what’s our real proposition and why will our tribe come with us? This is the brand rock upon which you can build your reputation.
You have to know your audience — who are they, who will make the decisions, where do they work, what do they like and how do they want to hear about us? Who holds the cash and what will it take for them to hand it over willingly?
And you have to be known — how do you ensure that your reputation precedes you? How do you get the right messages to the right people at the right time in the right way?
Finally make a calendar — who is going to do what and when — and a budget. Then just stick to it.
The internet is littered with short-cuts and hacks to instantly get what you want and to avoid the slog, but all of them have to admit that any success takes time and damn hard work. Alas there’s no substitute, so it’s all the more important that you love what you are doing and your team loves it too.
Don’t think it happens any other way.
It was no surprise to me that he followed up with point number 5 as “Never Ever be Boring” and that point number 3 had been, “Everybody in” as in all in. You can read the entire manifesto here.
A—Plan. B—Communicate. C—Execute and Manage.
Managers often think they need exceptional people skills to “Rally the troops.” True, that you certainly must groom those skills, however reality is usually that you need a good plan first, you need to be able to communicate that plan second, and the people skills of managing the work kicks in third.
Amazing isn’t it, how often we reverse that order.
Your plan may not be perfect, and it’s almost guaranteed to change along the way, however please do start with a plan. Trust me on this, you will take good work much farther on the get-go.
Execute and Manage as the work kicks in;
- People Who Do Good Work
- Beauty in the Work: “Things Occur to You.”
- Managing Basics: Study Their Work and Managing Energies: Struggle & Ease
PC: Images taken from A Five Point Manifesto for Doing Better Business with Businesses