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What's the Plan, Stan?

There are plenty of aphorisms relating to planning and organization. Here are some of them:

"If you fail to plan then you plan to fail."

"Prior Planning Prevents Particularly Poor Performance." (The six P's)

"Plan the work, then work the plan."

"Plans are nothing. Planning is everything." (Dwight D Eisenhower)

"Planning without action is futile. Action without planning is fatal."

"No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy." (Colin Powell)

Each of these makes sense, if you think about them. But, on its own, even a thoroughly researched, no-stone-unturned plan coupled with a top-notch organization chart won't accomplish anything at all.

What gets things done, what causes an organization to succeed, is the people involved. Ergo, if you want to achieve great things as a leader you will make it your priority to attract and retain the best people on your team.

No matter what your business may be, your best assets are your people. If I had a dollar for every CEO I've heard trotting this one out I'd be a wealthy man. In practice, far too few leaders really understand the truth of this, and even fewer act on it.

In too many organizations the people are treated like chess pieces to be moved around the board at the whim of the bosses. You can see this in the amount of time managers spend on restructuring and playing around with the latest management fad, and in how little time they spend on creating an environment where the best, the brightest, and the most creative are attracted, retained, supported, encouraged and, most importantly, unleashed.

As a leader, you will succeed only if your people succeed, so never forget your best assets and always prioritize them above all else.

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