31. When a Good Plan Comes Together

Saturday, September 09, 2023

Smooth Operator/Podcast/31. When a Good Plan Comes Together

31. When a Good Plan Comes Together


Don’t you love it when a good plan comes together?

Recently I was working on some projects outside of the office and found so much satisfaction having a blueprint to work from.

It got me thinking about how much I appreciate working from a plan. How that will free you up to be creative and work through the difficult times.

How can you build these plans for yourself and your team?

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So today I want to talk about just a side project of mine and how there's a lot of correlations to what we're doing in business to this side project, where I love doing carpentry, it's really my hobby away from work away from the kids are starting to get involved with it. But it's It's my little thing, it's something that is uniquely mine, something that I really enjoy doing something that is very stress relieving. It really gives me a lot of clarity.

You know, when I have to make big decisions when I have to unwind, I do it in the workshop. It so you know, I love it so much to the point that I actually built the workshop right next to my office here in the backyard. So if I have to escape from the office for 20 minutes, if I'm working on a big project, and I just need a couple of minutes, just to clear my mind, I'll go out there and just work on one of the various projects that I always have in motion. I keep them right there on the workbench. So I can just jump in at a moment's notice and be able to continue where I left off. And there's something so therapeutic about power tools, or just grabbing a block of sandpaper and working on really making a piece of wood just super smooth before finishing it. With that though, I as I've been building out this workshop, I knew I wanted to build what's called an outfeed table. So if you don't know anything about carpentry, imagine you have a 10 foot long piece of stock, like oak or Maple is what I tend to use the most. And you're trying to rip it in half, there's no way you can hold all of that on the table saw. So I was using this series of like rollers and stuff to push it on to but I don't like using them, they're a pain in the butt, you have to set them up correctly. And even then it doesn't always work right. So I wanted to create a table that would go on the backside of my table saw. So push that word onto and then if it's gonna take up that much space in my workshop, I wanted to be usable as well as I wanted to make it a workbench. And this particular one, it's really complex, there's a lot of drawers, storage mechanisms, put this thing and stuff called T tracks and on the top secant has various clamping mechanisms to clamp down a piece of wood that you're working on. And so I knew is going to be complex. But this was actually one of the most enjoyable projects that I ever built in the shop.

And that's because I really did my homework. I was working from a plan. I had blueprints that I had purchased to create the worst, the this piece. And I did all my homework. So I started on Pinterest just search through the various different things that other people had built. Really searching the whole time for blueprints that I could buy and I had a finding a really good piece I saw to watch the found on YouTube, then watch the video of the guy making it just explaining the different things that were in there. And lo and behold, there were the blueprints. And I think there were like, it's like $10, PDF, whatever doesn't matter printed out. And then I had to sit down and then do my homework on it. Because whenever you're building a project like that, you're not going to be able to build it stock just because every workshop is different. There has to be the same height as your table saw as an example. And there were little modifications I wanted to make. But I had the blueprint as the starting point. So from there, I sat down, I did my homework, I got out the tape measure and vape made all sorts of measurements, put chicken scratch all over this PDF that I downloaded. And this and really had it narrowed down to what my exact measurements were what I needed on every single piece and made all those main decisions before I even went to the lumberyard to pick up the wood before I made a single cut. All the decisions were made. And from there on, I was just following the directions following the roadmap that I put in front of me. And it made it a very enjoyable process. The piece turned out fantastic.

I couldn't be happier with it. But a lot of this is related to our business, and how we run things within our teams and within various business operations. Because what made it easy, I did all my homework upfront. I batch that content I batch that work so that I wasn't trying to think of this while I'm also trying to work with the 75 or 100 Day From pieces that I had to cut out, I was able to cut out the pieces, number them, you know, in doing all the work upfront, although real cerebral work upfront, having that all done. So when I got into the shop and started doing it, everything was simple from there from there. And I got to thinking, I've really done this a lot with my teams, and how I build out operational frameworks for them. And what I like to call a common operational picture, when you're working on a project, especially in a team environment, being able to build that common way of looking at the project together, man, it just makes such a huge difference. Because you're making all those big decisions up front, everything is nested out and narrowed down for your team. And that allows them to do their best work within the context of which they need to do that work. And I've talked about previously before about context shifting and how we're constantly in this ebb and flow motion of critical decision making to doing task and actually just doing things I really like. On my side, I like to do all the critical thinking upfront, I like to make those decisions, get everything nested out, do my homework. So that way, when it's time to actually put the project in emotion, I'm in execution mode. And so that's really how I built the project. And that's how we can build projects for our team as well. So you can do that within any sorts of project, any sort of project management tool, I also like to use visual aids. So in addition to really messing everything out in the project management tool, I'll often start with just a simple diagram. And usually I go Lo Fi with it first. So I have a whiteboard in my office. And if we have a project coming up, I'll do all the imagining of the project on the whiteboard for first, because I like that because I can easily just erase stuff, move stuff around reorder stuff, without letting tech get in our way. So often, we let tech get in our way, especially with project management tools, where we want things to be nested into this and this and we don't really know why yet, but it sounds like a cool idea. Oh, and I saw his great YouTube video of this new feature that has like no, leave that work for when you're in a different frame of mind. Keep yourself in the Imagineering mode to steal a phrase from Walt Disney being Imagineering mode, first building out the project, creating it, making all of those critical decisions up front, and then creating the blueprint. But it really has to come in that order. And then you're real, you're revising the blueprint as you're going, of course, but you're starting from a picture of what you want that end project to look like, and all the various steps that have to be done in order to get your team to that project. And having that visual aid then for your team. So I would take what I put on the whiteboard, put it into a tool, I like the tool OmniGraffle because it's particularly versatile. It's very, very flexible Google Slides. Guys, it's, I get it, I know why it's appealing. I know why a lot of people use them, I personally, really try to steer away from Google Slides, because they're just the tech is not as neat as I would like it to be. And it doesn't let you customize it as much as I like to sew a tool like OmniGraffle, where you can do a lot more things, make it make that visual component to because then you're appealing to different senses, you're giving your team the visual component of what this project looks like what this launch looks like. And I know OmniGraffle is just one to one. And whatever tool you use, the important thing is having that visual component and then the step by step component alongside of it, your team is going to appreciate it, you're going to appreciate it because you're going to be able to see it through different lenses. And to be able to have that project fully nested out fully realized. So when it comes time to pivot into execution mode and start giving tasks your team, man, you just made so many great decisions up front. And so you're not in that problem solving mode during the course of the project. Problems will always still rise of course, you'll get asked questions by your team. But you're eliminating a lot of the easy questions upfront by taking the time building out all the the details and having it nice nestled into a blueprint for your team. And having all that done allows you to be more creative when critical decisions have to be made not if but when we do have to make critical decisions, but you're able to make it from a better place. Because you are in this different mindset you have a full realization of the project before even begin. So like I said, have a plan. Man it worked in the workshop. It works in the business. It works on almost everything that we do when we have that plan.

It just makes all the all the difference in the world and how we feel about executing how well we act. execute how efficient we are in our work, and ultimately how good the project is at the end. So that's it, have a plan and follow it through and think about how many different ways you can do that for your team.

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