Do you take shortcuts?

I recently had a column published in the Washington Business Journal. The topic was Seven simple steps help you to plan projects. (Yes, I am very excited about being a guest columnist this year.)

Since planning is an essential element of most people’s work – and it is one element that can dramatically impact both results and the pervasive sense of overwhelm, it is a major piece of the foundation work I do with my clients.

A recent conversation with a couple of friends was quite telling. They are in the midst of planning a new focus and direction for their business, while at the same time being responsible for the business they have in process.

Have you ever done that? Have one project moving forward, and had to plan for a new project at the same time? Almost everyone has had that happen. Rarely do we have the luxury of working totally focused on just one thing, with everything else waiting patiently for that one project to get complete. (Oh, but don’t we wish that would happen?)

What was quite interesting was discovering that they had done some of the steps in the planning process, but not all of them. And, as a result they were driving each other crazy! She kept investigating additional potential avenues they could pursue to get where they wanted to go, while he kept worrying about what could go wrong both with what they were considering and with everything that was already in process.

The step they had skipped was the ‘provide for control’ aspect of the plan. This part involves brainstorming all the potential pitfalls and breakdowns in the project, as well as determining the milestones and timelines.

In most cases the potential pitfalls and breakdowns are easily identified and can just as easily be averted with a little thought. Think of it as disaster planning for your goals.

As my friends discovered, skipping this step just led to more anxiety. What was absolutely great about it was that one of them was automatically worrying about all the potential problems, while the other was actively investigating all the possible ways they could achieve their goals. All they had to do was sit down and talk – recognizing that each perspective was essential to the planning. Once they saw that they were able to have a conversation – letting his concern illuminate all the potential problems, and her focus add to the planning. They were just at different stages in the thinking process.And the different stages required different thinking.

It sure beats making each other wrong and driving each other nuts!

Where are you taking shortcuts? Where are you finding yourselves at odds with a partner or colleague? Is it possible you are having the same conversation, just from different perspectives?


  1. Sue Painter says:

    It’s funny that you and I have somewhat related blog posts this week. Sometimes in the midst of keeping one’s business up and running we can lose sight of the forest because all we’re seeing is the trees, LOL!
    Sue Painter

  2. Terri Cook says:

    You are sooo right – its so important to have a plan and skipping this step is a pitfall in itself right = thanks so much for this one

  3. Congratulations on being published in the Washington Business Journal..quite impressive. Valuable information..thank you.
    Dr. Robert Fenell

  4. Pinky Mckay says:

    “Is it possible you are having the same conversation, just from different perspectives?” This happens in all of life but a great reminder about it happening in business too -you have probably saved a lot of people a heap of angst with this great article


  5. So true! Sometimes the biggest obstacles to our success our right in front of us. They are the simplest (not necessarily easiest)!

  6. Kiyla Fenell says:

    Wow! That is great…Washington Business Journal! Congrats!

  7. Congratulations on your Washington Business Journal publication!

    It really is so important to do things right the first time, it can be easy to skim over things to get things done quickly. But it always pays to do it right!

  8. Mitch says:

    Way to go on your Washington Business Journal!

  9. You’re right about rarely having the luxury to do one thing at a time. I call it pre-production, production, and post-production. And I always have one project in each phase. But you have to plan to make it all work, just as you said. And congrats again on the WBJ!

  10. Terry, this is such a revelation for many of us. I used to think that dwelling on the ‘negative’ stuff would just attract it, but I will re think this now. Thanks! Lynn

  11. Lisa Manyon says:


    Yes, sometimes shortcuts aren’t the answer. 🙂 I relate to the scenario of building new offerings and managing what’s there. 🙂

    Write on!~


  12. Ellen Martin says:

    Hi Terry,

    I absolutely love this! It’s always great when two people can come together and create this way. I really like the idea of structuring the “worry” into a strategic piece of the project planning process.

    Great article!


  13. Wow! Congratulations Terry on your publication in the Washington Business Journal. Your “Seven Simple Steps Help You to Plan Projects” is a wonderful resource. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  14. Grace Heer says:

    Terry, are you telling me my father was right all these years? “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right — no shortcuts!” Thank you!
    Grace Heer
    Gemstone Coaching
    Mine the Jewels Within You!

    • ofyl says:

      LOL, yes Grace! My parents told me the same thing. It does save a load of time to do it right the first time.

  15. Hi Terry I love your question “Is it possible you are having the same conversation, just from different perspectives?” – not only do we have these conversations in our relationships but often internally with our own voice inside our head!

  16. Congratulations on the Washington Business Journal!
    I like the idea of brainstorming the pitfalls and making plans to overcome. I could do better at that.

  17. Congrats on being a guest columnist in the Washington Business Journal – and great article – good planning is so important, especially when we are super-busy and have multiple projects on the go