Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lost in Translation

So often we treat the implementation of plans as self-evident. The plan states that the departments will do X and Y by December 1. By heavens, they should forge ahead and do it.

Unfortunately, many of the executives and managers do not know how to implement the plan and are embarrassed to admit their ignorance. [Learning to admit ignorance is a major life skill.]

In some cases, these key actors think they know but they don't. In others, they will cobble together an approach that may cause more problems than the plan was devised to resolve.

It is so easy to believe that guidelines are clear and the required passion is present. Planners have been known to fall in love with their product. They cannot grasp the indifference of those who simply want to do whatever is necessary to get the externally-imposed requirement out of the way so the "real job" can be done. They are shocked when deadlines are missed and important actions are not taken.

All plans require translation and drill until it is evident that the team knows the language and accepts the priorities. Up to that point, a plan is simply a document. We may as well write them in Latin.


Rob said...

Isn't this the roll of a leader to implement the plan?

gimptress said...

there is a whole body of knowledge for that, translates the plan into smaller tasks for other people to implement it.
If the executors knew what the whole plan was, then yes, they might get lost on the way. But they arent allowed to change the plan, just deliver.

Anonymous said...

5 words: PMBOK

dude, get with the times.

Michael Wade said...

Absolutely, to all of the comments.

The gap that is often seen arises when the plan is insufficient and those who should be implementing it engage in superficial (as in "give ourselves an alibi") action instead of meaningful action. I encounter a huge number of managers who have not had one hour of training in project management.