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The Best Laid Plans . . .

You had your end-of-year retreat. You submitted your budget months ago. You met individually with your team members to discuss their goals for the new year. You thought out, wrote out, and laid out your plans for the incredible projects you’re going to tackle and the expectations you’re going to exceed. It’s January; you’re ready.


And then . . . things change. (Cue the ominous music)


You know that change is inevitable, and yet when it happens, you’re slightly taken aback. You have to modify those grand plans to fit your new circumstances. Once you write a goal, it’s easy to think of it as static. It’s there, on the paper, you did all the prep, you thought it through, you know what you want to accomplish, and you are good to go! The hard part – the planning and preparation – are done! When situations change, your direction must change, too. Adjusting to updates or alterations ensures that you and your team stay aligned with the proper vision and priorities.


Your responsibility to your organization and to your employees is to navigate those adjustments through clear communication and transparent reasoning. As a Leader, you’re in a unique position to know when a plan should be modified and when it should be scrapped altogether. Adhering to a plan once it’s past its expiration date is a waste of time, energy, and resources. Let it go, even if it means taking a bite of humble pie. Your team will appreciate your accepting responsibility, and they will recognize that the shift in direction is better when it happens sooner than later.


In truth, the hardest part about setting a goal isn’t writing it out or making it SMART. The hardest part about setting a goal is recommitting to it every single day. Because of changes in staffing or circumstance, maybe the goal itself isn’t changing, but the path to getting there is. Maybe what was a priority isn’t a priority any longer, and the entire plan is laid aside. Either way, you must revisit your goals and plans often, adjust, commit, and recommit to ensure that you and your group are moving in the right direction toward a shared purpose.

Remember that your goals don’t have to be written in permanent marker. A pencil writes just as well and is a whole lot easier to erase.

pencils and an idea


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