Should You “Begin With The End In Mind”?
Stephen Covey wrote this second habit in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People bestseller more than three decades ago. To what end? Does this still work when we consider the new dynamic pace of literally everything and its dependencies? Since its introduction, we’ve had many new methods, such as the Agile Manifesto in 2001, and others that took nearly 30 years to break through, like Stanford’s d.school (officially the Hasso Plattner Institute of Innovation and Design) on design thinking.
My last 15 years have been spent helping executives solve thorny issues and problems that have plagued their business operations. Prior attempts and the inability to resolve these have cost them millions of dollars in potential profit—worse yet, they’ve led to customer departures due to poor experiences and outcomes. General George Patton was famous for many quips, but this one you likely know: “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”
Having used the phrase myself, “Begin with the end in mind,” I wanted to share a dangerous pattern that often surrounds epic failures in digital transformation or even “rip and replace” programs to modernize operations. The dangerous pattern is overplanning—trying to be so specific that you end up beginning with an insurmountable plan that never gets out of first gear. This was never Covey’s intention; yet, through oversimplified memes and minimal context, the phrase drifts to mean something else.
To read about the Five Steps To Break The Cycle Of Overplanning visit the Forbes website.
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