When I was working in the corporate world I led a new product development team. During the course of developing a product for an “unnamed” customer we had a new Program Manager (PM) named Gary, assigned to our team. I had known Gary, from a previous life when I was working as a software consultant many years ago.
I brought Gary up to speed as to where we were and what the plan of execution was. After giving the lay of the land to PM-Gary he asked me a question that almost every PM asks, “What’s your backup plan?”.
“Backup plans are for losers”, is what I told him.
I almost laughed at the shocked look on his face. I doubt anyone ever said that to him before. I will tell you that I stand behind my statement. As I explained to Gary, if I didn’t think my plan was going to succeed I wouldn’t be executing that plan. My goal was and is success and failure is not an option. My advice is, “Plan for success. Don’t plan for failure”.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, how you envision your goal is how you will execute it. If you have a backup plan, you are giving yourself an option to fail and you will most likely fail. If you envision success, you’re on the path to success. This is not to sound Pollyanna about progress. Projects and plans will fail. Course corrections (pivots as they are called) will occur. In many cases the plan will radically alter during the course of execution. However, no matter what happens, your mindset needs to be success.
Gary had my statement “Backup plans are for losers” written on the top of his office whiteboard. It was still up there when I left the company.
There’s a tagline spread around by one of the presidential candidates, “If you can dream it, you should be able to build it”. This is a loser’s mentality. Why is that you ask?
One of my earlier articles was “Imagine it. Build It!”. I was very specific when I chose to say “Imagine” versus “Dream”. There is a wide gulf between a person who can IMAGINE something and a person who just DREAMS about it.
When you IMAGINE a goal your brain CREATES and PLANS an IDEA. IMAGINE something and you are taking positive steps towards your goal. A dream is the brain firing synapses without a specific purpose, direction, or end goal. Dreaming about something can be pleasing and relaxing but it doesn’t accomplish much.
Okay, you may say this is just semantics, but words have meanings and they affect your thought process which ultimately controls your actions. In future post I’ll explain why this is.
Ask any athlete and they will tell you they use IMAGERY and VISUALIZATION in their brain which enables them to see how they will score the point, make the play, break the record. I used to road race motorcycles many years ago. One of things that I did was called a “track walk”. I would walk the course and I would VISUALIZE and IMAGINE how I would approach a turn, how much speed I would carry through a turn, where are my braking points, where to apex the turn, how I would link up a “line” through several turns, where I would pass other riders. I would take notes and draw pictures to allow me to create and replay a plan in my head. During the race I already knew how I was going to run the track. I didn’t just DREAM about taking the checked flag. The images were very specific about how I was going to accomplish my goal. Ask a chess player if they can see what moves their opponent will make. They imagine the board in their brains and calculate what are the most likely moves to come. This ability to IMAGINE and execute action applies to all walks of life.
The ability to IMAGINE a product, business, or goal is also a key part of LEADERSHIP. No matter if you are an employee, a small businessman, the CEO of a corporation, or the leader of a country, the first priority of a leader is to have an IMAGE of what to accomplish and then have the ability to convey that vision to others. LEADERSHIP is a topic for another day.
Don’t “Dream it”. IMAGINE IT!
Here’s a quick test.
Quiz 1. What country won the first gold medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics? What is the medalist’s name? What event did the athlete participate in?
Quiz 2. Who is the ONLY summer Olympian to win 6 medals in 6 consecutive Olympics? Okay a hint. This Olympian is the ONLY athlete ever to win Olympic medals on 5 different continents. And again, what country does this athlete represent?
Quiz 3. Who is the medalist with 2 gold medals in 2 consecutive Olympics, holding both the Olympic and Wold records, and is called “The Worlds Greatest Athlete”? What country does this athlete represent?
Easy, right? How many did you get right?
If you missed any the athletes are:
- Ginny Thrasher, Team USA, Gold Medal, 10m air rifle
- Kim Rhodes, Team USA, Bronze Medal, Skeet
- Ashton Eaton, Team USA, Gold Medal, Decathlon
I suspect most people have never heard of these athletes. The US media ignores the achievements of all of these great athletes.
For Ginny Thrasher and Kim Rhodes I believe the media and sponsors ignore both of them because their events involve guns. Plain and simple the liberal progressive media hates guns and the Constitution. Why is it that in the “progressive” world where it’s supposed to be about empowering women and minorities, these ladies are ignored? There were a bunch of Hollyweird “celebrities” who were bashing 19 year old college student Ginny Thrasher after she won gold. Hillybob praised women who wore burkas at the Olympics but made no mention of the hard work and achievements of Ginny and Kim. In fact it was the same day that Ms. Thrasher won gold that Hillybob was praising the burka wearers.
Ashton Eaton is another anomaly. He’s the world and Olympic record holder, and twice Gold Medalist in decathlon, and almost no one knows his name. Okay this may offend some readers, but I feel that Mr. Eaton is ignored because, “He ain’t white and he don’t look black neither”. Not what Madison Avenue wants to promote. Did he get a cereal box deal? Bruce Jenner did when he won gold in the same event. Jenner was all over the news and had million$ in endorsement deals. I recall a front page picture of Jenner in the Los Angeles (Tass) Times.
Praise (and dollars) only goes to those who fit the “progressive” agenda. Go figure.