Friday, August 28, 2009

Stick to the Plan

Constancy is one of the most important ingredients for success. Staying the course is the company motto these days during this time of crisis. I guess it is also a relevant principle to maintain in one’s personal life. Sometimes the plan changes due to temptation and envy. In a public leader’s life, this would lead to accusations of being indecisive and weak. I guess from that point of view I may be considered to be vacillating although most of the struggle happens in my mind. This is where I stress myself because the mind is pulled in different directions. The trick is to remove all these divergent urges and just concentrate on a single plan.

I remember doing a project long ago after moving to Singapore. There were mixed results after it was completed. Along the way there where many proposals on how it should move forward. The local team also had their individual ideas. As project leader, I was also swayed by the ideas of other people. But in the end, due to the many possible directions, there was no choice but to proceed based on the original plan and focus. We had to pull together towards one direction or we would all go crazy. It may have ended in the wrong location at journey’s end but there was no denying it’s movement. At the point in time, the goal from my point of view was to achieve movement and momentum.

Afterward, all sorts of things have occurred which made that project one of the many passing fancies that will eventually be replaced by a global enterprise application. I guess from the point of view of the objectives at that time, the project was a success. Software was installed and delivered at least to one factory. Now the game has completely changed and the methods, procedures, tools and actors are completely different. At least, the project team did not waste their time because there was an attempt to complete and deliver a product following a limited set of objectives. It was an interesting job although the project team split into different loyalties as the project died down.

The lesson is to stick to the plan that made in the past, for example, with regards to finance and investment strategy. Sometimes one makes the mistake of changing the plan due to perceived new information or new conditions. In fact the change was only due to one’s emotions and desires. In this country there is no time for true reflection. The operative word here is ACTION: ‘just do it’ as Nike says. Any reflective thought is based on practical experience if any reflection is ever done. So in this society of movement and action, the normal scheme of things is to gain as much experience as possible. The Eastern principles of meditation or of not doing any ACTION but instead strive for inner reflection is an alien concept.

So how does one stick to the plan? I guess one has to have faith and confidence in oneself and the decisions he makes. The steadfastness quality can come from experience wherein people can look back at actual experiences and decide. Otherwise, assessing one’s learning via books and logic and have confidence when staying with a plan although maybe a bit risky. Another way is the so-called gut feel where ones learning, experience and instincts all come to play. I think I fall into this category where I am a more instinctive person and I follow my instincts closely in most of my projects. So visual thinking and clarification helps but sometimes one has to listen to his gut to succeed.

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