Organize everything you do
The first thing you must do for success in anything you want is to organize, and the first thing you must do in order to start organizing is remember that organization is the most important thing to success.
Operational Planning relies a 99% on well-established organization practices. That is why first of all, we want to make sure you understand it.
Why is important to organize everything you do?
Because it allows you to track what have you done, what you have to do, how have you done something in the past and how should you do it in the future.
If you don’t track what you have done in the past, you can’t learn properly from the results you had and surely all the mistakes you committed will be repeated in the future.
We all tend to think we barely commit any mistakes but after a careful analysis of our results we realize that lot of things we did could have been done much better.
4 Mandatory factors when Organizing
You can organize your projects in different ways. Here we have highlighted the 4 factors that you should never ignore when organizing:
1. Your Goals
Which are the main goals to accomplish. It seems absolutely basic (and it is) but is not.
The goals must be specific, not the classic: “Solve the problem”.
Try to disaggregate big targets into small and specific goals that can be easily defined and “achieved”.
If you have to publish a website, don’t just write down: “publishing the website” as your only goal.
Try to disaggregate it into:
- Establish the name.
- Contract the hosting.
- Define the Plug-ins necessary.
With these specific goals is almost impossible not to track perfectly how the “project” is progressing.
2. Task Responsibility
Who is in charge of developing or guarantee that the task is properly developed at the right time. We all tend to think that somebody will magically solve everything while we are doing other stuff, but it never happens that way.
The society started to make great things when we organized into groups, creating hierarchies and responsibilities.
By making somebody responsible (if you work in groups) your project will move further quickly.
A fixed data for the different tasks to be accomplished.
Surely you have heard a million times: “This should be done…” Whenever you hear it or when you just think it for yourself, establish immediately a deadline. From now on: put always a date on it.
You can’t imagine how many times we have seen Manufacturing Chiefs within small-medium industries always saying: “It should have been done long time ago…”.
Don’t say it; establish a date and a responsible.
4. Active Status Tracking
An active following of the different goals established.
Don’t wait for the problem final solution: track each day or week how is the progress or if anybody is stuck at some stage.
It should not be a just “checklist” with accomplished or not.
- Have a progress-stair with percentage of accomplishment (split in 10%, 20% or whatever fraction would be suitable for it):
- Have a “color code” with easy tracking at just a glance:
* You will find a basic and easy-to-use Action Plan in the “Planning Templates” section that may help you with your different tasks’ organization.
With all these factors taken into account, you can start organizing your goals and therefore: your project.
Don’t wait to start organizing yourself. You will experience how your goals start to being accomplished sooner than you think.
But before we move on, we have to mention the most important factor of all: the data you use.
Plan and Organize with Real Data
The worst mistake you may find within operational planning is not using real data. It is much worse than not having a planning system.
Why? Because if you don’t have an organization system, at least you work guided by your experience, but if you use fake data, you will “sail” firmly and doubtlessly towards the rocks.
You would think you have strong conclusions and your bad decisions would be taken with dangerous confidence.
NASA and ESA organization Example:
Some time ago, the NASA and the ESA (the European Space Agency) developed together a mission to Mars.
They prepared this mission for years with some of the most intelligent people in the world and an amazing millionaire budget.
Everything was going of perfectly: both teams were cooperating as a single team, and the communications were more than fluid.
- The most important and difficult day was the “landing day”: when the space ship would land on Mars’ surface.
That day everything went terribly wrong and nobody expected it to happen: the ship crushed brutally to the floor. What happened?
Somebody realized that they had used different metric systems when landing into Mars. The NASA employed inches while in Europe the ESA employed centimeters.
They had the best organization, the best controls, daily meetings and a quality-proof system unique in the world, but when they used not the real data for the ship approximation, everything went terribly wrong.
This happened to NASA and ESA. Now imagine what may happen to you if you used wrong data while taking important decisions.
So far, we have explained where to focus, and how to sort your tasks, but probably you still think all of this is pure exaggeration.
As we mentioned in numerous occasions, we have broad experience in restructuring broken companies, fix their problems and sell them with profits. We have seen all kinds of problems related with planning deficiencies, which tend to be among the most common and serious problems. And how you implement an Organization system is at least as important as Planning.
But… what happens if you just don’t implement an organization system in a proper way?
4 Common mistakes when Organizing and Planning
Now we will explain some the 4 most common organizing and planning mistakes we have seen in different companies we restructured:
1. Late organization problem
When a company is going through a bad time is very common to start trying to “follow the script”: suddenly everybody has “magical ideas” and the Managers start taking care about what they should have take care years ago.
In these situations, tons of lists, papers and reports start to appear everywhere and the workers have no time to fill them all.
So, everything solved, no? No. Of course not.
The bad news is: when this moment comes, you tend to be doomed to failure.
It is impossible to change an organization “philosophy” in days or weeks. When this happen, usually ends up with tons of useless papers that nobody cares about.
If a company is going through a very difficult situation, it can’t hope that a sudden organization rush will solve all its problems.
A proper planning and organization policy starts calmly or suddenly in companies that need to improve, but are not desperate about “how to pay next month salaries”. It takes time as well as an internal mentality change.
2. Half-organizating: Bad organization
One day, a certain Manager says: “this is a mess, nothing works in this company: from now on, we’ll implement strict planning protocols”, and he/she starts establishing dozens of reports that everybody must hand in at the end of the day.
Usually, these managers doesn’t explain the workers why are they suddenly “drawn” in reports, which are their purpose, and what is expected to improve.
This results in artificially “filled out” reports normally at lunchtime: you would never imagine how often have we seen employers/workers reporting while eating a sandwich. They all say: “no problem, I remember more or less, all the data”.
This is worse than not being organized because, at least if you are not organized you act driven by past situations that never happen twice in the same way, but tend to be similar.
While if you act based on fake data, you drive hallucinating at 200km/h with a crazy steering wheel. Guess the result.
3. Soft organizing
This case is curious, because the results are similar to the “half-organization problem” but with a different “starting point”.
It usually happens when a company changes their organization/planning protocols in a soft way: without a definitive deadline.
Although it could seem the best option, rarely is.
We all like what we know, and if you have the option of still work like you used to, you will not learn the “new way”.
It is highly recommended to explain everybody all about the new organizational planning, the templates, the reports, the purpose and what is necessary to improve, but you need a deadline to establish final organizational planning. A final date from which nobody can operate as in past times.
* Think about your computer updates: if they didn’t force you to update your computer, you would probably do it too late; when you had virus problems or incompatible software.
4. Getting crazy about Organizing
As soon as a certain project starts having good results after implementing operational planning actions, everybody tend to get crazy about it.
The conclusion seems obvious: if you implemented a certain protocol and the results improved amazingly, why don’t you implement 10 protocols for everything? The results would skyrocket, wouldn’t they?
The answer is no.
You must try not to:
- Start developing sterile reports that impede you to work in your real job.
- Focus exclusively in the numbers. You have to focus on the results.
- Create a thousand different goals when organizing. Focus on the important ones.
- Lose time staring in front of the numbers. You must to be effective.
As you can see, you basically have to use common sense.
Organizing is the first step towards success, but bad organization is the fastest way to failure. You must develop a proper operational planning in order to guarantee that all the effort developed leads you to accomplish your goals.
- If you decide to start organizing your tasks, milestones or goals, be sure to disaggregate them properly into specific and traceable divisions.
- Establish deadlines for all your tasks: don’t “hope” that someday they will magically get solved.
- Never forgive to always use real data in all your decisions: it is one of the most important recommendations we can give you.
- If you want to adopt an organization system, put a deadline to do it. Don’t wait too much and “jump on it” while you still have time.