Does your company play the hot and cold game when trying to find solutions or create something new? You don’t have time to research, so you just try as many ideas as possible to see if they seem good or not? It’s like throwing a bunch of things against the wall to see what sticks.

Some bosses encourage this because they believe they do not have time to commit to planning up front. They wrongly assume that it will be faster to let you just figure it out and keep coming back to them asking if you are hot or cold.

This causes frustration for employee, manager and anyone else working on the project. A good worker doesn’t want to waste time; they want to make progress. And trying the same thing over and over again in different ways without any direction sure feels like a waste of time.

According to Brian Tracy, every minute of planning saves 10 minutes in execution. That may not seem like much at first but, it equals out to a 5-hour time savings for every 30 minutes you spend planning. That could apply to both the boss and the employee working on the solution, which would equal out to 10 hours there.

So what’s a better way? Look at the current state – and future state – of what you want to fix or achieve. Talk about it, make sure everyone involved understands it, and plan how to move forward.

  • Outline the current state together
  • Identify the area you plan to improve
  • Discuss possible solutions
  • Select a solution everyone agrees on
  • Plan, do, check, act
  • Turn the new actions into a repeatable process

That is a very simple structure that will save hours of time with any project or task. Why does this work?

  1. It focuses energy and creativity on the actual problem you’re trying to solve, not just the symptoms.
  2. It provides guardrails, keeping you on track to minimize confusion and reduce chaos.
  3. It reduces administrative and redundant tasks, freeing up brain power for higher value tasks.

In short, no one’s wasting their time with trial and error of things that will never work, and aren’t even what the boss is looking for.

Bring out the Best in Your People

 


Judy Johnson

Written by Judy Johnson

Judy partners with executives and leadership teams to engage and inspire employees in a way that delivers sustainable strategic results. She brings deep expertise and creative ideas to solve organizational effectiveness issues and closely collaborates in a way that builds internal capabilities. Judy has spent over 25 years consulting in a variety of industries, bringing her expertise in behavior to a wide range of organizational issues including organizational behavior change, leadership, change management, culture and engagement.

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