Blog 013 – The Importance of Recognizing Team Members That Don’t Want To Plan First


Have you ever been part of a team that has a project to do and some of your team members just want to start doing the work? Those are great people to have on a team. They push the team to get to the end of the project and produce the results. But, have you been on a team where some of these types of people are only interested in doing the work and not really interested in the team getting together and putting a plan in place to achieve the results as a cohesive team? Today’s topic is about understanding why it is so important to recognize these people before the team gets moving forward on a project.

If you relate to being on this type of team, we can only imagine the stories you could tell that describes the issues these type of people cause. Now, to be very honest about these type of people, the vast majority of them are good hard working people, they just seem to be wired to need to be doing steps to move them forward to getting to the results. Defining the steps that need to be done, ensuring that the entire team understands the steps, issues, potential problems that could be faced by the team, do not appear to be important to them.

What Teams Usually See With These People In The Team

When we have people on a team that are motivated to “doing” something, to show that they are moving closer to the results, issues and problems that are experienced by the team seem to occur with more frequency. With every issue and problem the team experiences, each member of the team will make a personal conclusion as to what was the cause. These conclusions can tear a team apart relatively quickly.

When you have some people on a team that “plan the work” first, then “work the plan” second, they can identify potential problems and issues in the planning stage, thus avoiding them.

When these “plan first” people see an issue or problem faced by another team member, there is a very high likelihood they will be making a conclusion as to whether the problem or issue was a result of poor planning or not. These conclusions are what can cause a team to tear apart.

Team Of The Same Mindset (Clarity)

When we manage a task or a project, regardless whether it is at work or at home, if the team is not of the same mindset (same clarity of the steps that need to be done), teams begin to break down. Team members begin to make conclusions of the performance of other team members. To manage a project, our team is our greatest resource, therefore we need to make sure they have the opportunity to perform at peak performance.

Teams Are Not Like Other Resources

We can have many resources at our disposal to produce a result, regardless if it is a product or service. The only unique resource we have, a resource that is very dynamic, very inconsistent, is our human resources (our team).

Sports teams can greatly emphasize this uniqueness. We can have team members produce at peak performance, and in some cases beyond what is expected, or below peak performance. In both scenarios, their knowledge and skill set has not changed, so what is it that can cause this great variance between these two drastically different results? Emotion.

Emotion is something that is only unique to our human resources (unless you have resources that are animals like horses, but this article is only addressing human resources – your team). The emotion of a team member can greatly affect their performance. How they feel about the task they are doing, how it compares to their principles, their expectations, their energy they have that day, the list goes on and on, are things managers need to consider when working with their team. If you have experienced team members that when from working really hard on a project to significantly diminishing their efforts, you know what we are talking about.

Teams, Individuals, And Conclusions

Our teams, that are part of the resources we require to get the results we are expecting on projects, are vital. These teams are made up of individuals, each of which have the free will to experience things and make their own conclusions on those experiences. As managers, we need to ensure that our team has the greatest possible opportunity to succeed in delivering results that meet expectations. The individuals that make up our team will be making their own conclusions about your ability to manage as they experience issues and problems while they are working on your team. Nothing will change that.

As they make their conclusions, their emotions will be affected. As their emotions increase for not supporting the direction the team is going, their output will most likely decrease, their communication about their conclusions may increase, and the team may begin to tear apart.

Your Team And The Importance Of Planning

You and your team will always have issues and problems that will be faced along the way of creating your results. When you have people on your team who just want to start doing the work, without planning out what needs to be done and getting other team member’s input, the increase of issues and problems will drastically increase. Always remember, your team is an integral part of getting your results. To effectively manage, it is imperative that your team knows what needs to be done, and how. Some team members need to know more detail on some of the steps as it may have a significant impact on them, others may only need to know the basics. But make no mistake about it, your team needs to know what needs to be done. During the planning process, your team provides you the opportunity to address potential issues that may arise before the first step is even done, thus identifying additional steps to do (should these issues arise).

Doing the work before planning the work, is like having your team build a bridge before the team has settled on a specific design. You get an inferior product, if it even gets completed, a frustrated and dysfunctional team, and the need for more resources (time, money, people, etc.) to try and fix the problems.

For those managers who choose to ensure that planning with your team is done before you start doing tasks, your team’s successes always give you an incredible feeling that no one can take away from you. For those managers to don’t choose to consistently plan first with your team, we hope this article has given you some new perspectives that you may not have considered before.

Planning Isn’t Easy, But It Is Simple

The process of getting everyone together, getting them to accept the importance of these planning meetings, and comfortable to contribute to these meetings is not easy. You are dealing with different types of people. But it is a set of simple steps;

  1. ensure everyone knows the expected results,
  2. talk about the general steps required,
  3. ask team members if they are going to be affected by a general step of another team member,
  4. for general steps that may affect another team member get in to more of the detail to ensure no problems are being created by the team due to poor planning or lack of clarity,
  5. and finally, ensure that follow up meetings are defined to check the progress and issues along the way when doing the steps.

Managing anything in life, whether in our personal life or professional life, can be stressful and exhausting. Managing a child’s soccer team can be just as stressful as managing a project at work (and some would attest to the fact that the soccer team is more stressful). Managing Made Simple is all about making the managing of things more simple, cause we all know it isn’t easy. We hope we have given you a little peek into why putting in some simple steps to plan things before doing them can lower the stress of having your team not working at peak performance due to emotions in the team.


Till We Meet Again…

Managing Made Simple

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