Stop Planning and Start Doing Things

Southwest Airlines Strategic Plan - @Gapingvoid

Hugh’s artwork just popped up in my inbox and I love it.

We have a strategic plan. It’s called ‘doing things.’ – Herb Keller, founder of Southwest Airlines

I think it’s important to have a plan, but at some point, you have to stop planning and start doing the work.

I’m reminded of what Basecamp CEO Jason Fried says:

“Writing a plan makes you feel in control of things you can’t actually control.

You have the most information when you’re doing something, not before you’ve done it.

Figure out the next most important thing and do that.”

I think too many organizations want to have meetings on top of meetings and multiple levels of approvals mostly out of fear of failure.

If we’re all on the same page and we fail, nobody can point the finger (because we all failed). Better yet, we can use the self-serving bias and blame it on external factors or shoddy metrics to indicate that we didn’t fail at all.

This is a huge defense mechanism. It’s also why your organization is falling behind.

Trying to be perfect lets you stall, ask more questions, do more reviews, dumb it down, safe it up and generally avoid doing anything that might fail.  – Seth Godin

What if, instead, we tried to hire the best people, and created a culture of autonomy where we encouraged those people to fail (small) and iterate in real-time?

That’s how work gets done. That’s how we learn. And that’s how industries get disrupted.


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