Chapter 06. Charting Your Plans
Design is intelligence made visible. ― Alina Wheeler
Most things in the business world are a series of projects.
The ability to complete projects is a key determinant
of your career success.
A project is considered a “multi-tasking job”.
It requires the completion of a series of smaller jobs.
Perhaps the most powerful tool
you can use to maximize your effectiveness
and dramatically increase your accomplishments is a to-do list.
A to-do list consists of a chronological sequence of steps
that you create before proceeding with the task.
The ability to clearly define
and decide the steps you need to take from modern times
to successful project completion is a sign of out-of-the-box thinking.
Again, spend every minute planning,
to-do lists will save you ten minutes
in getting things done and done.
This is yet another example of how slow thinking
can dramatically increase your performance
and results as well as your role at work.
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like.
Design is how it works. ― Steve Jobs
Build a PERT chart
Building a visual representation of your biggest tasks
and projects can help you and others see them as a whole.
Start by identifying the goals you must achieve
in order to enjoy the results you desire.
Let’s start with the end goal in mind.
Take the time to clearly identify the signs of your goals
if they are accomplished brilliantly.
Then think in reverse order from the future to the present.
Make a list of the logical steps you need to take
to get from where you are to your desired goal.
The use of a PERT (Program Evaluation Review Technique) chart
helps to illustrate every step you need to take
and when each step needs to be completed
so you can reach your end goal together.
This technique is used by some
of the most effective companies
and leaders in the world.
A PERT chart helps you evaluate different ways
to complete a task with greater efficiency.
You can choose from many different chart types and styles online.
An example is illustrated in the chart below.
To chart, for each goal you draw a line opposite
from the date it should be completed.
Map it out on paper so you know
when each part of the task needs to be completed
in order to get it done on time.
♦ The numbered rectangles are nodes
and represent events or landmarks
♦ Directional arrows represent dependent tasks
that need to be completed in order
♦ Divergent arrow directions (eg 1-2 and 1-3) represent tasks
that can be executed concurrently
♦ Dotted lines represent dependent tasks
that do not require resources
By expressing your thoughts on paper and using PERT charts,
you have complete control over the sequence of events
and direction to follow.
You have a series of tasks
that need to be checked to ensure they are completed on time
and to the required quality.
Thanks to the PERT chart,
you’ll avoid deadlines
and stay in control of your work and key projects.
If something needs to be completed
before the end of the month,
schedule it to be completed by the 15th
or 20th in case of delays or problems.
Always keep in mind Murphy’s rule
“What goes wrong, goes wrong.”
Outstanding managers always assume there will be problems,
setbacks, unexpected delays,
and failure to get the job done within the set deadlines.
These situations are normal
and an inevitable part of doing business.
Your job is to stay on top of the project
and solve problems and remove possible barriers.
When you start using PERT diagrams,
you will probably be amazed at how effectively it can improve
or reduce problems
and conflicts between steps.
“Leadership is working with goals and vision;
management is working with objectives.” — Russel Honore
Set clear goals for everyone
Clearly written goals for each key person involved
in the project will help you achieve far greater results
than great conversations and good intentions.
measurable and time-bound goals.
Remember that what is measurable can be accomplished.
A goal without a deadline is not a achievable goal.
For each goal or milestone to complete a job or project,
you must assign responsibility to a specific person.
Always ask the questions:
Who will carry out this task?
When should the task be completed and to what quality standards?
Never assume that people know what you want
unless you make it clear to them.
General Motors went from massive losses
and bankruptcy in 2009 to a profit of $4.9 billion in 2012.
GM’s president says the most important thing helps his company,
he turned the situation around thanks to set clear goals
for each key person
and at each level of the organization.
Before taking office,
he found that company-wide goals were vague,
and rarely realized.
After setting clear and specific goals,
every employee knows exactly what to do to keep their job
and move forward.
Remember that the greatest talent you have is the ability to think,
especially the ability to think carefully
before you act.
The more time you spend thinking and planning on paper,
the faster you will achieve better results.
Where are the people who don’t have goals headed?
Those 97% end up working for 3%. — Shiv Khera