When working on plans, the words describing elements of the plan are often used interchangeably. We’ll see words like mission, purpose, goal, milestones, strategy, tactics and many more appear. All of them are interlinked as they contribute in their own way to the plan, making it hard to distinguish between them. Instead of structuring the work to be done, they often add to the confusion which exists before and while establishing a plan.
What’s not easy either, is that the basic questions “What, Why, Who and How” apply to the whole plan as well as the many facets of the plan itself.
The fact that the answers are interlinked keeps the plan in a state of constant change while seeking an answer to the different questions. For a while, answers create reactions and questions impacting the answers one has started to establish.
It’s a stage of anxiety during which the search for guarantees will often appear.
Guarantees serve the individual hope and need for security. The problem is, that guarantees are only available for things people have real leverage on, not for things supposed to happen in the future.
Plans need to provide answers to anxiety which go beyond guarantees.
The starting point is knowing the different facets of a plan and how these contribute to its practicability.
What, why, who and how are a goo start:
What: Based on an idea of what our activity is, establishing what means to be able to describe what you will achieve through this activity. What is the change you seek to make? What is the goal this leads you to?
Why: There is always a reason why we do what we do. It’s the promise we associate with what we do. It’s the purpose we believe in.
Who: Once we have a reason, we also started defining for whom we’ll put this plan in place. The reason we see and the change we seek to make can only apply to those who have not yet implemented this change and those who need it.
How: Once we know, whom we are addressing with our why, we start to see how we can bring them our work, the what we defined as our deliverable.