“It usually takes me two or three days to prepare an impromptu speech.” – Mark Twain
“Prior Planning and Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.”
I heard some version of this old military adage a million times growing up. Beginning of sports seasons, getting ready for a big test, on the pool deck, at home, at West Point. The list goes on…preparation is in our control!
Planning and Preparation are the things we can control.
Of course, we know that. Be prepared. Think about a plan. But how often do we get caught up in our own brainstorming, planning, and preparing that we leave our subordinates with little time to make their own plans? As leaders, decision-makers, project managers, we have to remember that we aren’t the only ones who need time to prepare. I was reminded this week of the 1/3 – 2/3 rule. You may have heard of it before, but I think it’s worth reminding. Simply stated, leaders should take a third of the time until a deadline to make a plan and then provide their subordinates with the remaining time to develop their own plans and execute them. As a Platoon Leader for Field Training Exercises, this often meant if we had 30 minutes of planning, it was 10 minutes for me and 20 minutes for Squad Leaders.
This week, we were reminded of all the planning that goes into every step of the Project Development Process. We are moving quickly on an entire portfolio master plan, project development, and construction management engagement for a client. We have different team members helping with different portions of the project, but when you are at the right hand of the client and your team is responsible for Planning, Design Support, Development, and Construction Management of an entire portfolio of projects, you begin to remember that the further a project advances, the more detailed the planning and preparation is.
So whatever your role in a project, mission, or plan, the further upstream you are (and the closer you are to the decision-maker), remember there are people downstream that have to turn your plan into their plan…and the project is counting on both of you. Be diligent, but be quick…as Thomas Edison said, “Good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.”
BJ Kraemer, President