I met a client yesterday who was expressing his frustration with a piece of work that a major consultancy firm had carried out for his business (why he hadn’t worked with me, I don’t know!) that had clear recommendations and plans set out in a beautiful management report, but against which nothing had been done.

We quickly agreed that, in this instance, detailed plans and major process changes are a distraction. What the business needs, instead, are specific performance goals, clear accountabilities and a timetable for improvement. Taking these steps will drive action and deliver the required results.

The old management saying, “failing to plan is planning to fail” is, at best, only partly right. Perfect plans can often get in the way of rapid performance improvement.

Where are you spending too much time planning, when you should be taking action and learning from your experience?

© Stuart Cross 2011. All rights reserved.