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May Presidents Message: The Best Laid Plans

Thursday, May 19, 2016 4:32 PM | Deleted user

Now I am probably the last guy to give anything close to management advice. In fact, I can give you a list of people whose wisdom is infinitely more deserving of your attention and imitation. But I have had the pleasure of making mistakes. Lots of them – good ones too! If there’s a silver lining, it’s that I’m the prime beneficiary of my own stupidity and I’ve learned (the hard way) to avoid repeating mistakes. As General Patton said, “I don’t pay for the same real estate twice”.

If you’re like me, one of those mistakes is a tendency for us to fall in love with our own planning prowess. Our goals and intentions flow seamlessly into actions then into results. Standing in front of the starting line, there are no hiccups and no wildcard scenarios. Surely we’ve accounted for every contingency. We convince ourselves that the ecosystem that we operate in cannot penetrate our flawless designs.

But we’re wrong and too many of us will wise up too far down the line. One of the best things I’ve come to realize in my short time in government is that no plan is too good to be amended or abandoned. Better yet, a plan that doesn’t change from start to finish is likely one that was carried blindly to conclusion. 

If I can make a suggestion it’s this: set aside time to take stock of what is really going well, and conversely, what you had hoped would go well but isn’t. Do it sooner than you think you will need to – wayward ships don’t typically right themselves due to the passage of time. It’s a tough conversation, especially if you have to admit you were misguided. 

The UMANT team recently did just that for our 2016 year. We recognized which plans were succeeding, and which were noble, but doomed efforts. Our goal for the second half of the year is to slowly bring these wayward ships back on course.  

See an area that we can improve upon or change in the second half of 2016? Drop me a note at the email below.

Ryan Adams

Assistant to the City Manager, City of Irving 


Urban Management Assistants of North Texas (C) 2013

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