Yesterday during a group workshop there was a task to facilitate. It seemed pretty simple to me. “Piece of cake”, I said to myself, and I volunteered to facilitate this session.
I’ve seen it being done before, and I was sure I am up to the job. I quickly came with a plan. It was a good plan. First, we do this, then that, and then this and this and ta-da! we’ll have it. I had it all figured out.
Piece of cake, right?
And then I started facilitating. In the beginning, all went well. I had it under control. We progressed good, really good… and then things started to fall apart. Someone from the group suggested a change in the approach. It was reasonable, and we followed it, already deviating from my perfect plan. Then, an unexpected (but essential!) discussion arose, which threw me off the balance – it definitely wasn’t a part of my plan.
So, my perfect plan went bust and I had to fight hard to help the group reach the expected outcome. Eventually, I did manage to do what was planned, but at a much higher cost than I expected (and it took us much longer than I anticipated).
What Wise People Say
This experience reminded me of what Mike Tyson used to say about plans:
Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the face.
So yeah, I had my perfect plan. But the real work started when I got hit. Then I had to think and act fast, then I had to give it all I had got to reach the goal.
Still, planning helped me immensely. At least, I had some parts figured out and I had some scenarios already processed in my head. I don’t even want to think about what would have happened if I started this session without any upfront preparations!
Make plans but be prepared for the unexpected anyway.