There are several keys to successful planning and one of the first to do is to be aware of some of the major barriers that will trip you up.
- Fear of Change – the apprehension about stepping out into the unknown will limit your creativity and send you down the path of least resistance. You fall into the trap of using “cookie cutter planning” where you just do what’s been done before because you know that most of your followers are comfortable and familiar with the norm.
- Ignorance – Most people will resist what they don’t understand. Your plan will not succeed because the benefits and the process have not been properly communicated and explained.
- Uncertainty about the future – Your plan to achieve your vision will not be accepted if there is doubt about the future effect on the organization.
- Lack of Creativity – Limiting your thinking to what’s been done in the past will not lead you to discover new ways of doing things.
So now that you are aware of the major barriers to successful planning why not use them to your advantage. Let’s take them in reverse order and see what can happen.
- Be Creative with your planning – Gather your team together and assess your past programs and practices. Start asking each other, “What if we….” List each idea and then evaluate them by discussing what it would take to make each one a reality. Don’t dismiss any idea until you have thoroughly discussed the pros and cons and determined if it is consistent with the goals of the organization.
- Creativity reduces Future Uncertainty – If you assess your creative planning ideas by asking yourself “Will this idea get us to where we want to go?” and find that they do, then the unknown future starts to become clearer.
- This helps eliminate Ignorance – You now can communicate your creative plan to the organization and explain how it achieves the goals and reaches the vision. You replace ignorance with understanding.
- Fear Goes Away – Now that you have properly communicated your plan and explained how it will accomplish the goals and achieve the organizational vision, the fear that may have existed and the comment; “we have never done it like that before,” will be few and far between.