The Planning Wheel is a contemporary model resembling a ship’s helm, which controls the rudder, and therefore, the direction of the ship. At the center of the wheel is the hub, representing the purpose of the “voyage.” Radiating outward from the hub are the spokes representing communication channels, connecting the hub with the rim of the wheel. At the intersection of each spoke and the rim lies a point of action representing an opportunity for the crew to receive direction and report their observations.
(Continued from the previous Blog)
Now that you understand how to work the Planning Wheel, you can think of yourself not only as a Doer, but also as a planner. You may not be the one developing the original plan, but you are able to fill in the blanks if those higher up leave anything out.
By the time you have worked your way around the Planning Wheel, the organization’s purpose or your part in it may have altered slightly or even changed radically, depending upon the winds of fate. If your purpose has changed, you may need to cease working on some goals and objectives and begin anew on others.
This is the best time to make a mid-course correction. By letting go of nonproductive activities, you can make room for new ones that better fit the revised purpose. Even if the purpose has not changed, it makes no sense to continue working on goals and objectives that are nonproductive. Your team will appreciate knowing that you are willing to let go of a goal when there is no reason to pursue it any further.
The action points around the rim of the Planning Wheel provide for the constant exchange and review of information. This two-way, interactive system is what gives the Planning Wheel its dynamic flexibility. It allows the purpose to be reassessed in response to change.
The planning wheel can be entered from any point on the rim. For instance, if you were assigned to a new team, you might plug in at #8 by looking at the current goals and objectives. If they do exist, then you can assess how well they are being performed and support the continuation of the work processes currently in place. If there are no stated goals and objectives or those that do exist are outdated then you can enter at #1 or #2.
As the new person it is important for you to make a good first impression. Gathering the new team around the Planning Wheel is a great way to establish yourself as a Doer and to improve the outcome simultaneously.
Whenever a job is not being done well or the crew does not feel good about doing it, they are probably doing something outside the scope of their purpose. Unless they have a clearly defined purpose, it is easy to get caught up in doing unproductive things.
Discoveries like this are not likely to be known at the upper levels. By understanding where you and the other Doers fit into the plan, you are now in possession of information that can be useful to those higher up.