Rachel Letby, Director of Crail Consulting, shares five top tips to help you succeed at your change management programme by striking the right balance between planning & doing; whilst avoiding wasting resources or incurring unnecessary costs.

There seems to be a scale that most people sit on when it comes to planning and doing. At one extreme, there are people who enjoy planning. They’ll plan to the nth degree, just in case that unlikely scenario does happen. They’ll procrastinate until that plan is just perfect. Of course, by then the moment has passed! At the other end of the scale are those who plunge into “doing”. They’re the types who will have skimmed descriptions of the agile methodology and decided that it gives them leave not to plan at all. The fact that they’ve incurred costs, wasted resources and actually used up time unnecessarily is irrelevant. They’ve been busy so that has to be good, surely?

Here are a few tips that I’ve picked up over my years as a change management consultant:

1. Despite whatever anyone says, you do need a plan otherwise how will you know what the journey looks like to your destination. It’s the scope and detail that will vary. As Benjamin Franklin so wisely said: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

2. Think through your plan at a high level before you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. When you launch into planning, it’s too easy to get caught up in the detail of the first phase so that you lose sight of the overall plan.

3. If you tend to be a planner then keep planning until you get to the point where you say, “I’ll just plan that in a little more detail”. At that point, STOP! However, if you’re a doer, keep going with planning until you get to the point where you think that it’s good enough then CONTINUE! Until you feel that you might die of boredom. Now you’ve done enough planning!

4. Don’t beat yourself up over your plan – the only plan that is perfect is the one written after the event! There are too many variables out there that get in the way of you planning perfectly; you need a plan that gives you enough detail so you know where you’re going and how to get there. You can correct course as you go along but at least you’ll know what those corrections look like!

5. Planning and doing aren’t sequential. You don’t plan then stop planning to carry out work. It’s two-way. As you action your plan, you should be looking to see how that impacts the plan and vice versa. It’s just that time spent on your actions at this point should exceed time spent on planning.

I’d love to hear your views and further tips!

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