Thursday, May 28, 2015

Costs & Benefits of Planning

by Janet M. Shlaes

Is your characteristic style of planning and moving through the world aligned with your highest values? Your answer to this vital question will change depending on your current life and career development stage. I used to plan everything out - strategically, structurally and logistically - from the meta-vision down to every minute detail. I knew exactly what I wanted, what it would look like and the timing of results. I even produced detailed spreadsheets to document, manage and track the implementation processes. This exceedingly thorough (and sometimes obsessive) approach was vastly productive in terms of results and ROI; the upfront investment of visioning and tactical planning time significantly reduced the likelihood of disaster and led to consistent next level results. Even my vacations were planned out in a similar manner to ensure a predictable outcome.

Unexpectedly, as I moved along my career/life path, consistently accomplishing many of my envisioned goals, something happened. I increasingly experienced the costs of this highly structured approach in terms of values conflicts and a lack of spontaneity, coupled with a deficit in the element of play. As I evolved, my desire to move beyond the predictable benefits of working/living inside the boundaries of the structured spreadsheet box exponentially increased. To be honest, this evolution was more than a tad scary at first; the benefits of this new approach have been beyond amazing and worth the initial fear. Opening myself up to the benefits of empty spaces and embracing the unknown has led me to travel, learning and professional opportunities/adventures beyond what I could ever have envisioned just utilizing my rational mind. Although our highest values remain consistent across time, their place in our values hierarchy tends to change as we grow and develop personally and professionally. This warrants a periodic visit to our values hierarchy and the need to assess whether our actions are currently aligned with what we hold most dear in life.

Is your characteristic style of planning and moving through the world aligned with your highest values? If not, what one action step can you take today to align your goals with your highest values?


For addition insights and observations, check out the following posts:

Embracing "Good Enough"

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