Didn’t I say this blog will be full of those acronyms?
I’ve seen such equations during my high school algebra days when properties of equations are being discussed. I used to think that mathematics is way too boring if not applied in our daily walks of life (which is the main reason I shifted from pure mathematics to applied mathematics – engineering to be specific – during my college days). As I’ve learned about leadership principles, this is one equation that really stuck to my head: Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail. It applies to just about any aspects of our lives whether it’s business, personal, emotional, economic or even spiritual. I just finished working with a project manager on a certain project. Project managers are supposed to plan, execute and manage projects (which is why they are called project managers in the first place). I highlighted the first one, which is plan, because without it the other two won’t be there at all. Planning is key to a successful project. And if not done properly, anything else will fail. Let me illustrate my point. When building a house, you need to talk to the architect and designer to articulate what you want in your house. Once that is taken cared of, the architect needs to have a look at all aspects of building the house – mechanical, electrical, piping, etc. This is where all the detailed drawings included in the blueprints come in. Then, the builders come and build the house according to the blueprint. A lot of people think that once the house is built, it is now ready to be occupied. Not at all. If you didn’t plan to buy the furnitures and the fixings for the house, there’s no way you can spend a comortable night of sleep. Now, think about the potential loss of not being able to plan properly. Let’s do some risk assessment. If you need to move in to the house immediately after it has been built and you haven’t included in your plan to buy the furnitures, you might end up sleeping some place else until you manage to have the essentials for your house. Or, you’ll probably end up buying at that particular instance. In both cases, your cost will definitely go up. What’s more, you’ll have increased anxiety which may be difficult to quantify. But if you planned well enough to consider buying those furnitures even before the house is finished, you may even have time to go around and looking for cheap yet elegant ones or even go around and scout for really good bargains.
Businesses lose a lot of money because of lack of planning. Imagine having to delay a project because the key person got sick and a replacement was not planned well ahead of time. Let’s place some numbers to quantify these cases. If you are making US$1,000 per day and you need to finish a project in 5 days, you’ll make US$5,000. If the key person got sick and have not planned for a replacement, that’s an opportunity loss of US$1,000 a day because you not just have to pay for the leave that the sick person is entitled to but also for the extra day or days that he has to spend to continue working on the project. Whereas if a replacement is already available as planned, the project goes as scheduled with the replacement taking over until the key person gets back to work. Efficiency, of course, is a different story. But still, you’ve managed to save time – and money – lost because of proper planning.
Imagine how much we can save if we just plan what we do in our lives – that vacation you’ve always wanted, your career path, your retirement, your next project, your family, etc. I’m not saying you should plan everything as rigid as you can as this would probably limit your creativity and imagination. But it really helps a lot planning way ahead.