Don't Plan. Design.



I have a love/hate relationship with planning. My inner rebel thinks plans are dumb. My instinct is to be spontaneous, go with the flow, just let things happen. Jump and a net will appear. My inner organizer thinks plans are necessary. I like knowing where I am going and when. I like that everything in my office has a place. Generally, I have struck a nice balance between these two opposing viewpoints. For example, I am an excellent navigator because I have driven every possible route from A to B. Accident up ahead? No problem, I know at least 6 other ways to get there! That last sentence is indicative of how the solution can become the problem. If there are 6 different ways to go, how do I choose? Which one is best? Why should I limit myself to just one? When it comes time to plan something important like a product launch or a marketing strategy, procrastination and decision paralysis kick in. I love plans so why do I hate planning so much? I decided to dig deep and get to the root of my resistance. I know that having a strategy in place will only benefit my business development in 2017 but the idea of sitting down typing it all out? Uck. Not interested. Plans seem so finite and inflexible. It sets up a pass or fail scenario. It either works or it doesn’t. When a plan doesn’t work, we say go back to the drawing board which implies that we throw the whole thing out and start all over again. And that is daunting. I much prefer the idea of keeping what works and changing only the parts that don’t. And that is when it hit me. I don’t need a plan. I need a DESIGN. Plans are linear - there is a start and a finish. But design models, at least all the ones I’ve worked with in the past, are circular. They have a process for change built into them. There is no pass or fail. It is expected that things will change and evolve and you will make updates and adjustments and keep moving forward. No more going back to the drawing board. There are a lot of great design models out there (ADDIE, SAM, AGILE, SCRUM just to name a few) But many of them were too step-heavy for me; I wanted something simple. So, I created my own.


I realized that like many people, I spent more time planning then acting. WHICH DEFEATS THE PURPOSE OF A PLAN. The idea is to spend most of my time DOING not planning to do. Here is how I will break down my time:

  1. DESIGN - Spend 25% of my time here

  2. EXECUTE - Spend 50% of my time here (this is where the value is)

  3. ANALYZE - Spend 15% of my time here

  4. REFINE - Spend 10% of my time here


This simple design model will serve as my reminder that the real value is in the doing, not in the planning. And that just because something didn’t work it doesn’t mean I scrap the entire thing and “go back to the drawing board.” Refine. Re-execute. Keep moving forward. ​ So, I am not making any plans for 2017. But I’ve got a fantastic design. A design that keeps me focused on where I am going but allows for some detours along the way.

After all, I am an excellent navigator.

Click the image to download your copy of the DEAR Design Model PDF.

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