There’s not enough time in the day! There’s so much on our plates how could we ever take on more! Plan? Who has time to plan? These are often said in organizations; however, how much time is spent fixing, reorganizing, editing, changing, and yes, even having initiatives fail all because the time wasn’t spent on the plan. Spending time on the planning phase is probably one of the most important steps an organization can do when making change or implementing a new process, procedure or initiative. And it is by far, the most cost effective.

In high stakes situations people want to know that there’s a plan and that people are working the plan. Crisis plans, surgical plans, treatment plans, safety plans, and childcare plans are some of those high stakes or high value plans. No one wants to go to the hospital for a surgical procedure and have the medical team say, “We’re going to go with our gut with your surgery! There’s no plan, but we’ll figure it out when we get you on the table.” How would a passenger on an airplane feel if the flight crew said, “We are headed to this destination and I have a great idea on how to get there.” I don’t know about you, but I want to know that the people I’ve entrusted my life to have a plan on how to get me to my destination safely and that they have a safety plan, a crisis plan, a contingency plan and the list goes on and on. But, unfortunately, in many organizations, the planning phase gets short changed or skipped altogether and instead of taking that great idea and developing a plan, people get side tracked or off track or never on track. If there’s no plan, how will the people in the organization know what are the measures of success? A well-developed plan is the roadmap to success.

If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over? — John Wooden is dedicated to improving organizational effectiveness through equity, focusing on education, health care, and government.