4) Designing the Plan (Determining the Solutions)
In some cases, you might go from setting goals to designing the plans that will get you to these goals; while in other cases, you will encounter problems on the way to your goals and have to design your way around them. So design will occur at both stages of the process, though it will occur much more often in figuring out how to get around problems. In other words, most of the movement toward your goals comes from designing how to remove the root causes of your problems. Problems are great because they are very specific impediments, so you know that you will move forward if you can identify and eliminate their root causes.
Creating a design is like writing a movie script in that you visualize who will do what through time in order to achieve the goal.
Visualize the goal or problem standing in your way, and then visualize practical solutions. When designing solutions, the objective is to change how you do things so that problems don’t recur—or recur so often. Think about each problem individually, and as the product of root causes—like the outcomes produced by a machine. Then think about how the machine should be changed to produce good outcomes rather than bad ones. There are typically many paths toward achieving your goals, and you need to find only one of them that works, so it’s almost always doable.
But an effective design requires thinking things through and visualizing how things will come together and unfold over time. It’s essential to visualize the story of where you have been (or what you have done) that has led you to where you are now and what will happen sequentially in the future to lead you to your goals. You should visualize this plan through time, like watching a movie that connects your past, present, and future.
Then write down the plan so you don’t lose sight of it, and include who needs to do what and when. The list of tasks falls out from this story (i.e., the plan), but they are not the same. The story, or plan, is what connects your goals to the tasks. For you to succeed, you must not lose sight of the goals or the story while focusing on the tasks; you must constantly refer back and forth. In My Management Principles (Part 3), you can see one such plan.
When designing your plan, think about the timelines of various interconnected tasks. Sketch them out loosely and then refine them with the specific tasks. This is an iterative process, alternating between sketching out your broad steps (e.g., hire great people) and filling these in with more specific tasks with estimated timelines (e.g., in the next two weeks choose the headhunters to find the great people) that will have implications (e.g., costs, time, etc.). These will lead you to modify your design sketch until the design and tasks work well together. Being as specific as possible (e.g., specifying who will do what and when) allows you to visualize how the design will work at both a big-picture level and in detail. It will also give you and others the to-do lists and target dates that will help direct you.
设计方案时，思考各种相关联的任务的时间次序，在纸上粗略地写个大概，再用具体任务补充完善。这是个反复的过程，粗略描绘宏观大方向（例如：聘请优秀的员工）和往框架内填充具体任务的过程中交替反复，这些具体的任务要估算大概时间（例如：未来两周内选猎头公 司帮忙物色优秀人才），还要考虑因此带来的影响（例如：成本，时间等）。通过不断完善， 设计方案草图和具体任务会相得益彰充实起来。尽可能做到具体（例如：明确谁在什么时候 做什么），这样你的设计方案从宏观布局到细枝末节都会显得十分形象化。方案里也会明确任务清单和任务完成时间，为工作指明方向。
Of course, not all plans will accomplish everything you want in the desired time frame. In such cases, it is essential that you look at what won’t be accomplished and ask yourself if the consequences are acceptable or unacceptable. This is where perspective is required, and discussing it with others can be critical. If the plan will not achieve what’s necessary in the required time, so that the consequences have an unacceptably high probability of preventing you from achieving your goal, you have to either think harder (probably with the advice of other believable people) to make the plan do what is required or reduce your goals.
People successful with this stage have an ability to visualize and a practical understanding of how things really work. Remember, you don’t have to possess all these qualities if you have someone to help you with the ones you are missing.
• How good is your ability to visualize?
• How confident are you that your assessment of your ability to visualize is accurate?
If you are confident of your self-assessment, why should you be confident (e.g. do have an excellent track record of visualizing and making what you visualized happen, have other believable parties told you that you are good at this)?
Remember: Designing precedes doing! The design will give you your to-do list (i.e., the tasks).