How to Build a Simple, Clear Plan | Ep 21


The benefits of planning:

  • Think about what you are going to do, in advance, so that when you act you may act more effectively.
  • Tap into the collective intelligence and wisdom of your team.
  • Minimize risk and maximize the possibility of success.
  • Take into account, and maximize the use of your resources and capabilities.
  • Consider past activity and bringing forward lessons learned into the present plan
  • Strike the balance between prudence and boldness

In this episode, we cover three things.

  1. 5 Essential Elements of a Good Plan
  2. The Pitfalls of Planning and How to Avoid Them
  3. A Planning Framework that Works

Inspiration for this episode comes from Chapter Nine, “Plan”, of  “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALS Lead and Win”,  by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.

1. 5 Essential Elements of a Good Plan

What? Why? How? Who? When?

2. The Pitfalls of Planning and How to Avoid Them

The pitfalls: Ego, Inefficiency, Rigidity
How to avoid them: Simplicity, Efficiency, Flexibility

3. A Planning Framework that Works

  • Rally Cry
  • Fierce Focus
  • Critical Numbers
Rally Cry: Why, What
  1. Obvious: Everyone knows it, everyone can remember it, everyone can say it, understand it, and everyone should believe in it  
  2. Inspirational: Tied in with the mission of the company etc.  
  3. Aspirational: Gives someone juice to wake up with in the morning

Clear, Energizing and Packed with Hope

Fierce Focus: How/What/Who.   

What is it:

“What must be done in order to achieve the rally cry?”

Imagine that you’re an Allied commander on D-Day

Rally Cry: Establish the Beachhead  

Fierce Focus:

  1. Ship to Landing Craft  
  2. Landing Craft to Beach
  3. Beach to Cliff

Three Questions you should ask when establishing areas of fierce focus

  1. How does each help me achieve the rally cry?
  2. Is there a person accountable for each separate fierce focus?
  3. Is the burden of responsibility spread appropriately?
Critical Numbers:
  1. Tied to each area of Fierce Focus
  2. Can be a metric or a date
  3. How to shape a good number:
  4. Is it linked to an area of Fierce Focus?
  5. Is it realistic and attainable in the time frame?  
  6. Does it help with accountability?

An Example from Construction

Next Steps:

This one-page planning process is at the heart of a meeting process I use with my construction clients:  Kick-Ass Meetings

I’ve used this process with my construction clients for over 15 years. It helps them prepare for and conduct an effective meeting, and build simple action plans that they actually implement (no dusty binders). Download a short report that details how to use Kick-Ass Meetings by clicking this link:

Podcast Reviews

Why the Construction Industry is Foundational to the Success of California | Ep 12


How to Win the Battle Against Silos | Ep 19

Pat, Glad you enjoyed it. I appreciate the feedback. I'll have some more episodes in the same vein, coming soon. Eric

How to Win the Battle Against Silos | Ep 19

Eric, really enjoyed this podcast. Extreme Leadership is one of my favorite business books. Nice to see that you are incorporating some of their leadership strategies into your podcasts.

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FREE Downloadable Resource:
Construction Leaders Dashboard

Do you lack focus and forward momentum? The Construction Leaders Dashboard is a simple, powerful tool for construction company leaders. Use it to clarify what you need to do in order to succeed. It includes: Vision, Mission, Values, Edge, Intitiatives, Metrics, Key Relationships,
and Development Opportunities.

To get your copy of the dashboard, click this link