“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task.”
~Viktor E. Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning
This is an interesting title for a blog post, but I believe the discussion is worth having, especially as we enter the last weeks of the year when we begin to evaluate how we kept our promises.
The planner, the doer and the combo are three kinds of people. Most people fit into one of these roles. There’s nothing wrong with being one of these three people; the problem is being one of them at the wrong time.
We all have to recognize which of these roles we’re fitting and when we’re doing that. It’s crucial to the achievement of our mighty goals. Why?
If you find yourself not being as effective as you want to be or as efficient as you once were, chances are it has to do with being in the wrong role at the “right time.” Let me explain.
Let’s take the planner as an example. This is the person who spends time planning everything. This person thinks about every detail. He or she thinks everything in so much detail, that many times this person beats himself into counter-arguments about why something cannot be done. Other times, the planning is so extensive the person sees the surmounting complications of a very simple task. The problem, as you see, is that the person plans and plans, but nothing happens.
This is like getting the jet ready to takeoff but not even try to warm up the engines. These people talk about their plans, and you wonder why nothing has happened. Many times you recognize these people by the language they use:
“Well, I am waiting for____, so I can do ____.”
The planner tends to wait for the perfect moment, the one that perfectly meets the human-made sketch. Is there a perfect time? Not really! Remember that the best time to do something is most likely now.
Am I saying that planning is bad? No! All I’m saying is that becoming obsessed with excessive planning might rob away from the time needed to take advantage of a great opportunity.
There are times when thorough planning must take place and other times simple planning must happen. And other times, you just have to let your instincts guide you. Regardless, the aim is to take swift action—and no plan is perfect, so be careful to spend your life planning and not doing something.
After the previous discussion, you may be tempted to think it’s all about the action. Let’s talk about that for a moment–the Doer.
Sounds like something out of an action-adventure movie. The “action” hero! The doer is concerned with getting things done. He or she gets up in the morning, and gets to work, and overcomes obstacles like the water breaks boulders. What’s wrong with that, right?!
When the doer becomes obsessed with action, the execution may become undisciplined. Okay, it’s deeper than that. When the doer become obsessed with action, he becomes undisciplined. The person gets out into the “field of battle” and labors, labors, and labors. The doer becomes captive of the circumstances, consumed in someone else’s agenda.
The doer is so consumed with the doing, that little time is spent in proper analysis of the fruits of the work, failing to stop for a moment and ask, “Am I on the right track?” You can recognize these people for their language: “I would really like to do ___, but I don’t have time!” The future ideal state is just a wish that is far, far away.
Maybe, you’re asking, “If this person has the drive, why haven’t this person arrived?” This person has not given thought to his or her destination. That’s why. There’s nothing wrong with being the Doer. We just have to start our energetic efforts with a clear picture of where we want to be and understand clearly the (why) reason we’re doing what we’re doing.
Trust me, I’ve been both, one or the other (Planner or Doer); the results has not always been too stellar. But I’ve found that I’m the best when I become the Combo. One has to be the planner and the doer. Those two roles have to be connected like the right and left brains.
The combo starts with a target vision—an end state. This person sits and plans. (You and I need to envision the future and then plan it.) This person set timelines and make them clearly visible (on a house wall or fridge for example). The most successful visions and plans have been drafted on a napkin. In short, if your plan is longer than a page, it’s perhaps too long.
The combo then takes these plans and align them in a “kill” sequence (targets). Then, this person devotes the energy to beat each target. As each target is met, the combo takes great pride, joy, and moves to the next target. The combo’s energy and sense of purpose is renewed with each victory, giving him or her even more drive to accomplish the next!
As I share this post with you, I remind myself about the need to sit down today and assess where I am. Then, I can enter a momentary planning stage, followed by a doing stage (and then back and forth). I remind myself to clearly decide where I will go, then align my target sequence, and continuously strike a balance between planning and doing.
And of course, I also remind myself to be surrounded with motivating people whose example empower me to be better and dream more. I hope you do too!
Always motivated, lugo
Copyright © 2015 Jose A. LugoSantiago – Craft Your Journey!
Dr. Jose Lugo Santiago is the chief leadership and foresight strategist for LS|EG, a consulting firm dedicated to facilitating change through leadership, strategy, and foresight. He holds over 28 years of experience leading organizations in the military and civilian sectors, and crafting strategy to meet successful business process re-engineering and innovation. He is also the author of several titles to include peer-reviewed academic works. His doctoral areas of research are Leadership and Foresight, Culture, Strategic Change, and Organizational Development.