There is no perfect plan.
This saying is from a group of idioms we in the military call “Murphy’s Laws of Combat.”
And we are all familiar with the infamous Murphy’s Law, which goes something like this: “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, usually at the worst possible moment.”
These laws gave us a rather pessimistic view of planning, but we still religiously planned all military operations and exercises in the greatest detail.
This is because good old Murphy kept us real. We all believed in the need for planning, and since his laws meant failure was inevitable, we were free to learn from it.
And learn from it, we did. Accepting the fact that the plan would fail in some way, it became a challenge to find as many points of failure as possible and then take action to reduce the risk of that failure.
So, How Can a Business Planner Learn through Failure?
1. Create a “fail-safe” culture.
There is no perfect plan, but you can create a fail-safe environment.
Make failure a logical and necessary outcome of any plan. Communicate with your planners and ask them: “How will this plan fail?”
By accepting and identifying failure, your planners get about the business of plugging the holes. This safe space is made easier through the power of simulation software.
2. Set the example.
Deliberately learn from your mistakes. If you want to create a culture of learning, then practice it yourself.
Show your learning in front of others, but don’t overly focus on the planning mistakes. Focus more on what caused the mistake and most importantly — what was learned.
Computer-aided simulations help you set the example by focusing (and learning from) your mistakes.
3. Develop a useful planning paradigm.
Planning paradigms have several things in common:
• They make the leader state a desired outcome.
• They have a process to create and compare alternatives.
• And they have a formula for identifying and synchronizing resources.
4. Rehearse your plan.
Murphy also taught us that we could never rehearse too much, because multiple run-throughs gave us a flavor of how our plans would perform. And one of the most effective ways to rehearse a plan is through computer simulations.
If you are driving important decisions such as capital investments, simulations can be developed to test out your plan and help you to identify key decision points.
Testing your plan with simulations may take a small investment in time and money, but you will save money in the long-run by helping you to avoid Murphy.
5. Practice the 80% solution.
This ideology is about making decisions while knowing you don’t have perfect information. And because time is your most critical resource, it’s a good practice to get into.
Here you know it’s more important to act and make mistakes within a window of time than to sit paralyzed, anchored by the fear of failure.
After all, you won’t be able to see the remaining 20% of what you need to do until you execute the plan. And this execution is made easier through simulation software.
To control risk, develop feedback mechanisms that will help you see the plan’s performance and make adjustments on the fly. Refine the plan during its execution – using the time you saved by practicing the “imperfect” plan.
There is no perfect plan. This is why you need to get comfortable with failing and learning by …
1. Continually asking: “How will this plan fail?”
2. Deliberately learning from your mistakes, over and over.
3. Developing a useful planning paradigm.
4. Creating a “rehearse, rehearse, rehearse” mindset.
5. And practicing the 80% solution and refining your plan during its execution.
Failure is inevitable, but it’s also the best way to learn and course-correct.
And computer simulations are the easiest, most cost-effective, and most seamless way to do all of the above. They are, without a doubt, your best weapon when dealing with Murphy.
© Takouba Security, LLC.
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