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  • Writer's pictureSETH MCCOLLEY

Motivational Message - Plan Ahead

"Failing to plan is planning to fail."

- Alan Lakein

Back in the day, when I was a Psychology major at the University of Texas, there was a plaque that hung on the wall on one of the offices of Mezes Hall. It looked a lot like this...

I know...some of you are amazed/impressed that I remember trivial details like this, let alone the fact that I actually remember where the Psychology department was based. The department has since moved into bigger and better facilities, even without the donations that the College of Liberal Arts has not received from one particular Texas Ex who shall remain nameless. But I digress...

For some reason, the image of this plaque has always stuck with me. When I was young, carefree and knew everything, I didn't think much of it. I thought it was funny and amusing, but the real concept of "planning" was lost on me at the time.

Over the years, my mind has gone back to that building, that office, that wall, that plaque so many times. There's so much wisdom to be found in that image. The words alone don't carry much weight. But when you consider the image, it brings the words to life.

Thankfully, in time, I've gotten better at planning. Not only that, but I now fully understand and appreciate the value in planning, whether it be your time, your finances, your career, your DVR schedule or your fantasy football roster. Planning is important. I get it.

When it comes to HR work, there's a lot of planning involved. We've got change management plans, communications plans, organizational plans, budget plans, headcount plans, performance plans, contingency plans, staffing plans, on-boarding, transition plans, training plans - you get the picture. All of these plans are great, except for one minor detail.

We're dealing with people.

You may have noticed by now, but people are fickle creatures. People change their minds. People lie. People cheat. People outperform. People quit. People rise to the occasion. People forget. People make mistakes. People surprise you. People are the proverbial "x factor" that make it so hard to accurately plan for what's going to happen next. 

But HR pros don't get off that easily. All of these plans must still be made and carried out. You can prepare yourself, and your team, for the "what ifs". You can plan for the worst, and hope for the best. But work is messy. Things don't always go the way they're supposed to go. A solid HR pro can help you control the chaos and navigate the rough waters that are sure to follow once you throw people in the mix.

Ironic that this image, this plaque, stuck in my head from so many years ago, when I didn't even know what Human Resources was, let alone that it was going to be my profession, has finally found meaning for me.

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