The art of planning comes naturally to human beings. However, how good or bad we are at it depends on our experience and caliber. From planning trivial things like what to eat and planning a timetable for studies to planning a marketing strategy for a billion dollar organization, planning is an essential part of our lives. What remains common in all these planning activities is that we seldom plan on distractions. Our plans are based on assumption that we are living in an exclusive world where no one would disturb us in our tasks.
Though we face distractions in every plan, we still make our next plans with no consideration to the possible distractions. Why do we turn a blind eye to these obvious hurdles? The answer is called ‘high probability of low probability events’. While putting our art of planning at work, we never plan for events having a low probability of an accident or a flat tire while driving to work or a short deadline at work may be. But the probability of one of the hundred low probability events occurring during your day is quite high.
Brush up your art of planning by expecting the unexpected
How do you manage the occurrence of such an event which can fail your plans? While working with my clients as an executive coach and discussing the art of planning, I warn all of them that there will always be a crisis, no matter how foolproof the plan sounds to you right now and hence the process would take longer than you are expecting. If you want me to name the crisis in advance, I can’t do that. But what I can tell you is that it will be real. It may be a defection or an acquisition or some product recall which might make your timeline go awry. You can’t predict it but you must expect it. Unless you expect it, it will distract you and slow your progress.
It is hard to change what’s inevitable. Accepting it as a part of the game and sharpening your art of planning to tackle a distraction that might come in during the day, would be far more constructive. Hope for the best and plan for the worst, is my parting lesson to my clients.