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Planning for Success

  • Published
  • By Maj. Derek Blough
  • 6th Contracting Squadron commander
"Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now." It is an on-going process of allocating resources such as time, materials, and people in order to efficiently accomplish your goals. Planning allows you to successfully bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. Every one of us plans, whether it's your family budget or simply a strategy to finish your commissary shopping in less than 30 minutes. We do it every day, from the moment we wake up in the morning we do some level of planning to get through the day. Planning in the work place is very similar to what we all do, but keep in mind some additional points.

Although, "those who fail to plan, plan to fail," a plan by itself also may do little good. Other aspects are also vital in planning for success. Without commitment, a plan is nothing more than hope and good intentions. A sensible way of inspiring commitment in others can be accomplished by following three steps. First, communicate, communicate, and communicate. Communicate where the organization is headed and advantages of the desired end goal. Second, distribute the designed plan that details the process from start to finish. And finally, monitor progress. Remove any roadblocks, apply lessons learned, and ensure that positive performance is noticed and rewarded. Flexibility is also key, because what is known today may be different tomorrow. Plans should be continually developed to ensure forward progress around unplanned obstacles.

Although good plans shape good decisions, a good decision made too late is ineffective. Thus, timeliness is also a factor and sometimes, "a good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow."

To sum up the important aspects of planning, think of driving a vehicle from one location to another. Your goal is to arrive on time at your destination. Your plan is the road map with directions of how to get there. Timeliness ensures you leave early enough to arrive on time. Commitment is the gas in your fuel tank that keeps the engine running and wheels turning forward. Last but not least, flexibility is your ability to navigate the vehicle around unexpected road blocks along the way that were not shown on your road map. If one of these key aspects of successful planning is missing, you could get lost, you may arrive too late, run out of gas before reaching your destination, or be hindered by road conditions along the way. This is why planning, timeliness, commitment, and flexibility are all essential pieces for successful planning.

As we near the mid-point of fiscal year 2010, keep these key aspects in mind when planning your unit spending through the 6th Contracting Squadron. Plan your known requirements now to help avoid the bottle-neck effect that occurs near the end of every fiscal year that can cause delays in the procurement process. And as soon as requirements are known, contact your contracting POCs. A contracting specialist can assist you in planning your requirement and will ensure the procurement process is started on time. Also, remain flexible if there are unexpected issues with your requirement and help your contract administrator if they need additional information to successfully fulfill your requirement. The 6th Contracting Squadron is committed to serving our mission partners efficiently and effectively but in order to do so we ask for proper planning to help us help you.