I’ve had a few occasions lately where multiple meetings on a subject are proof that some people are inclined to spend way too much time planning the simplest things. At some point I want to just say “Stop talking about this and do something!”
In one case, a colleague and I are locked into one meeting a week for more than a month just to plan another series of meetings. I have a very low tolerance level for meetings to plan meetings. We know what we need to do. We could sit down together one time for a couple of hours and do all the planning needed. All other individuals and departments we have met with about the same process have gotten the idea in no more than 30 minutes and are ready to act on it. Unfortunately, we are not in charge of these particular meetings or the later ones being planned, so we have to endure the over planning.
The other situation with too much planning is related to a conference at which I am speaking later this month. What is most needed at this point is for the panelists to have some extended time together to walk through the panel discussion and finalize who will address which topics during the talk. Instead, we continue to talk about slides and eventually rehearsing the discussion at some point. I think just doing the rehearsal will be the most beneficial preparation and will, itself, determine which of the many possible slides we include in the final discussion.
Planning is good. No major endeavor should happen without it. But it’s possible to plan too much. At some point we need to act. We can’t always think through every possible risk or issue that might come up before we try something. That’s OK. We learn best by doing, anyway, so we may as well get to the doing part as soon as we can.
There is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to planning. Be mindful of when you hit that point.
Leap year lesson #218 is Stop over planning and do something.