We’ve heard the phrase “the best-laid plans of mice and men, often go awry” for years. I was reminded of this while watching football this weekend. The quarterback of my team was so committed to passing to a specific receiver that he missed a wide open player standing in the end-zone. The pass he “forced” was almost intercepted.
It’s important to have a plan. Way too much time and resources are wasted in organizations by moving forward with no plan in mind. Sometimes we romanticize the “figure it out” mentality that takes action now, with little concern about the future. Having a plan and figuring things out later are not mutually exclusive. A great manager does both.
Your team and your organization need to know the plan and how you expect them to execute it. A manager who seems unclear or uncommitted to a plan fosters hesitation in his team. Keep in mind that these very same team members would be shocked if you pushed the organization forward into an unwinnable situation. They expect that you’ll commit to a direction unless and until that direction proves dangerous.
Sometimes, I’ve taken the approach of measuring an alternative plan without sharing it broadly. This allowed the team to stay committed to the path while I was prepared for a change.
As a manager, you must use your creativity to keep your team focused even while you’re scanning for options.