A Goal without a Plan is just an Idea ... or -


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... or "that's a great idea, let's start it and then fail to follow up"

I know a company that's great at coming up with ideas, and doing the football huddle thing, call out a play, shout something inspiring, then everybody goes off and it's forgotten. If we'd implemented every good idea we ever had we'd rule the world by now.

In this case it's a corporate culture thing, which I consider my job to influence while recognizing that I can only influence the direction by degrees.

When I get the ball, I stress:

Defining the goal
Determining milestones
Determining resources required
Assigning resources
Creating a schedule for deliverables
Monitoring and updating that schedule
Revising as required

You know, the old Plan - Do - Check - Act thing.

Am I alone in facing this challenge, or are other outfits similarly disfunctional?

Are there rudimentary tools anybody can point me to?

All of you have a great weekend - THANK YOU SO MUCH for all that you do.

Elsmar Forum Sponsor

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
I am sure you are not alone.

Is it a corporation? If so, I wonder how the board allows this to continue?

Making and following through with goals is a strategic discipline, driven by top management. It is hard to imagine how to cure corporate ADHD.

I wonder if the Kotter 8-Stage Change Process would help? I remember one of the Our Iceberg Is Melting books included a story about a manager who noticed the company was buying a lot of gloves for this, that and the other thing - no order to it at all. So he put one of each into a box, brought it to a meeting and dumped it out onto the middle of the table. The shock of that big pile of gloves, then an invitation to pick through it and understand how there could be fewer types purchased to get the same things done, helped with Step 1: Create Urgency. I can imagine your writing down, one per sheet, every one of those good ideas that went nowhere, folding them up into individual paper airplanes and bringing a box of them to dump out onto a table like the gloves. It might help if each one included its value statement, projected ROI or whatever. All those lost opportunities scattered on the table.

I have no affiliation with Kotter. (I wish I did!)


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You are not alone and I feel a bit better that others have the same issues, I understand that I should not feel better that others have the same issues but it helps to know that I am not alone, in the dark, surrounded by lions, wearing raw meat clothing, with only a twig to defend myself with :mg:.


Looking for Reality
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Rubbing some of the tidbits together:

It's small and privately held (ADHD) firm
A box full of great ideas not implemented
A pack of hungry lions

When you've only got one stick, you fight one lion at a time.
If help comes, you both fight one lion at a time together.

When you dump out a pile of great ideas, a small private firm typically can't chase them all even if they wanted to...that's what "small" usually means.

Why not dump out that pile as "things started", and have the empty box for "things finished with benefit"...and spend the time choosing the first one to finish...and then finishing it while ignoring all the others.

With my small company background, there's typically only room for one great idea at a time. It's typically better to finish yesterday's good idea instead of wondering about today's great idea.

Can you target "Finish the first", rather than "What's next" ?
That may be your first improvement project...keeping the main thing the main thing. Oddly enough, it is not a natural reaction for most folks.


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Thanks, [Ninja] and [hogheavenfarm] -

My current tactic is to take note of other's projects that merit the support and drag them onto the table in management review meetings.


Looking for Reality
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Best of luck to you.

FWIW, consider picking only one or two (preferrably one quick closure one) just to get a win under your belt.

Give the credit to the person who "made it happen" other than yourself.

Then pick another. Wins and friends who benefit from your work do wonders in a small company. After you've got several...everyone will know that it's you making it happen, even while you're giving the credit away.

Project Man

Involved In Discussions
Make it visual!
Put it in their language (whiteboard) and then they'll have to deal with it.
I work in a small company too. Once I did this it became more of a team effort and my time and effort was respected more.
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