When a granular plan is better than a grand plan

Grand plans are a lot of fun. They are exciting to talk about, they are the stuff dreams are made of. We need big ideas, lofty goals. We need a vision.

But we also need to get things done. We need to take action. For that, we need to get into the nitty gritty details.

Jumping from big vision to action plans can be a challenge. Often, it’s too big of a leap. First, we need to break down our goals and aim at very specific outcomes. We need to get granular. We need to get very specific.

Developing a plan based on specific outcomes will help you achieve your goals much more effectively. Here’s why.

You will work more efficiently

When the path to your goal is clear, it’s easier to see when you might be veering off track. You’ll be on a highway with guardrails instead of jutting down side streets. It’s a less scenic route for sure, but the point isn’t to take in the sights as much as it is to get to the destination.

You will know what you need

When you know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there, you can pack everything you need for the trip. Once you’ve committed to hiking up the mountain along a certain trail, you can make the necessary preparations. Based on real data, you can plan to dress in layers, wear the right shoes, pack appropriate food and drink, have sunscreen and a rain poncho handy (and don’t forget your selfie stick!).

You will know when you have arrived

If you decided to bake a cake, you’ll have a cake. You will be able to see it right there in front of you – concrete evidence that you accomplished what you set out to do. And you’ll be able to eat your cake too. (If that was the plan!)

Being able to track, monitor, and manage progress toward your goal is crucial, and it’s just as important to know when you’ve reached it. If you were very specific at the outset, you’ll know when you’ve achieved the outcomes you were seeking. That’s a very satisfying feeling. It’s also important to know when you’re done so that you can stop working on this item and move onto the next one.

Be specific

As you set out on your next journey, think about the specifics. What is the evidence that will result if you achieve your goal? What will be the artifacts of success?

Set big goals for sure, but then set all the little ones that are necessary to achieve real results.

Photo credit: Moyan Brenn