I’m a planner.
At my core, I believe good business management requires good planning. And while planning for a desired outcome comprises most of the battle in business – I would say that any serious successful objective requires 80% planning and 20% execution. The transitionary point, when planning ends and execution begins, sits on a razor's edge, and is often the greatest contributing factor to an objective’s success or failure.
My middle daughter is very much like me in this way. From day to day, she knows what she needs to accomplish. At school, she prepares everything she needs to bring home with her to complete her assignments. When she arrives at home, she sets everything out in her room with a full understanding of what she needs to do to accomplish her mission: HOMEWORK. And then… she plays video games, she gets a snack, she plays with her sisters, she talks to her mother. An hour goes by. She looks at the time. Recognition alights in her eyes upon seeing the time much later than was expected. The urgency for her has “suddenly” increased, HOMEWORK is back to the front of her mind, and off she goes. But an hour has been wasted, work is rushed, and bed times are delayed. Not a successful outcome for something that began with such promising planning.
With good planning, one can get organized and ready to act. However, as in the example above, if insufficient force is applied to push the action forward, then the activity will not begin, and the result is poor. This highlights that once all the plans are in place and the proper parties sign-off, the activity should begin expediently to ensure its success. As such, this process parallels a chemical reaction. Planning is the assembly of the necessary components (reactants), and each party signing off adds to the energy of the system, the final sign-off marks achievement of the ‘activation energy’ needed for an action or reaction to proceed. Without achieving ‘activation energy’ to set good planning into motion, all the best planning is for naught.
At Cyclica, this notion is infused into our corporate culture: just get it done. Get it done well, get it done as quickly as possible while maintaining quality, but get it done all the same. Realizing that planning represents only part of any successful activity, our team, infused with this ‘get it done’ mentality and belief in the purpose of the core business, uses planning completion as a milestone to trigger execution. Once all parties say it’s a go, you go!
Never forget to push over the first domino. Put plans into motion. Watch the reaction unfold. Maintain a sense of the environment within which the plan is being executed. Change course where necessary.
Now, on occasion, pushing over that first domino is more easily done that one might expect. With a lower activation energy, one can sometimes act in haste before a plan is fully formed. To mitigate this risk, Cyclica does its best to gate deliverables so that we can be sure that the time to act is right, that we are all agreed, and that we are set up for success.
In the end, our team is committed to the very best work we can provide, acting nimbly and efficiently, and doing so when we are ready. And when we are ready, we do not forget to take that first step. Unless, unforeseen constraints create barriers. Then we need a catalyst. More on that next time.
I’m a planner, and when the time is right, I’m also a doer.