The Importance of Planning


Every year for Box Pro, I’m in charge of creating the editorial calendar.

Basically, the calendar is a breakdown of the next year’s issues. I have to piece together story topics, working with the rest of my team to bring the ideas into fruition. Although it can be daunting, I couldn’t imagine writing for Box Pro without a game plan.

That yearly calendar determines what content will be going into the magazine. It decides when this topic will be discussed or when that article will be due. In essence, it determines a large chunk of my and my team’s workflow for the year. Without it, we’d be flying by the seat of our pants, scrambling a month before each issue.

With that said, I’ve come to realize how critical planning is to business. Whether it’s for an event five months from now or a workout tomorrow, planning allows you to have an overview of what’s coming and what needs to get done now.

In “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, the authors explain how they had to prepare for mission briefs. It often took a lot of work, but both Willink and Babin learned that they had to get every member of the team invested in the plan.

Willink explained if the entire team is involved – decentralizing command like I talked about last week – it means as the leader, you can now stand back. He shared, “If you let them plan the details, it allows them to own their piece of the plan. And it allows you to stand back and see everything with a different perspective, which adds tremendous value. You can then see the plan from a greater distance, a higher altitude and you will see more. As a result, you will catch mistakes and discover aspects of the plan that need to be tightened up, which enables you to look like a tactical genius, just because you have a broader view.”

By planning and then getting your team invested in the plan, you have the chance to see mistakes before they happen. You can evaluate and move pieces in the plan before it comes into play.

To the authors, mission planning was a huge part of their success on the battlefield. “The right process mattered. Disciplined planning procedures mattered. Without them, we would have never been successful,” wrote the authors.

How are you planning for your business, Affiliate? Where can you bring your team in? Look at the big picture so that when it comes to the details, you know where you are headed.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at