Things do not happen. Things are made to happen. – John F. Kennedy
When John F. Kennedy asked Wernher von Braun what it would take to get a man on the moon, von Braun gave a 5-word response, “The will to do it.” He could have given a long and technical response. He chose to provide a short and to-the-point answer. The rest, as they say, is history.
In yesterday’s post, I talked about my first point in defining a leader – getting things done. That’s about commitment. Von Braun was also know to have said that research is what he does when he didn’t know the answer. Having lived in Huntsville, AL many years after the space program began, I met many people who work with von Braun in the early years. They didn’t know the answer, but they were committed to finding our how to do things.
Getting things done depends on know how. How can be defined in many ways. In this post, I’m defining the how as the process a leader establishes to get things done. So, in this case the how is personal discipline.
Plan your work and then work your plan. – Anon.
People ask me, “How do you get so much accomplished?” I respond that I have to schedule my activities and stick to that schedule. Here are some of the tips I teach my clients and that I use myself:
- Time Activate – We identify goals, action plans, and to-dos for getting things done and we write them all over the place on little pieces of paper or on a yellow tablet. Our notes are fragmented and our thinking and actions become fragmented as well. Use some kind of planner or calendar. Link that calendar to your goals. In your action plan for each goal, have a section for daily activities. Then “Time Activate” each activity, that is, reference the day you plan to do it by each action. Create a place on your calendar for that activity with the appropriate time commitment to complete that action and refer to the planning sheet or action plan on your calendar to have a circular reference.
- Create DVDs – Daily Value Deliverables are those things that you schedule each day that connect to your goals and action plans, and are results driven. These are not activities. These are results. Create 3 DVDs for each work day – that is 15 DVDs a week and 60 DVDs a month if you have a 5-day work week. These “Baby Steps” related to your goals will insure that you make progress.
- One Calendar – If you have two calendars, they are both wrong. Need I say more?
- Plan to Plan – Schedule time for planning, for evaluation, for thinking, for transitions, and for a break. Plan on Friday for the following week. Review and update at the end of each day for the next day. Don’t wait until the morning to plan for the current day – that’s too late. Review your day as your last activity each day and create your DVDs for the next day. As you rest and sleep, your brain has already started to create the results you have identified. Review your DVDs when starting the next day and be sure that those actions are time activated on your calendar.
- Review and Revise – No plan is perfect, in fact every good plan gets revised continually. We learn things. Situations change. We learn more things. We gain new knowledge and a new perspectives. Stay open to revision. Revising is not failure. Revising is using current knowledge to improve yourself and your results. Plan – evaluate – revise – recommit.
Getting thing done depends on knowing how to plan your day and how to execute your plan. Many leaders think that knowing how to get things done is technical knowledge. Sometimes it is, however, the overall discipline of personal discipline is an acquired skill and is truly the knowing how that will separate the successful leader from the want-to-be dreamer.
What will you do differently today?
The Transformational Leadership Strategist