Can rigid work plans be a detriment to an organization?

2.1k views2 Upvotes3 Comments

CEO in Software, 11 - 50 employees
I've noticed that even in young organizations I advise, there's an assumption that if my boss and I agree to a work plan for the next year, then when anyone in my department needs something that's not in my work plan, for any reason, I’m not doing it. It doesn't matter if they're drowning in the pool, and the work is to find a rope to get them out. And whether we recognize it or not, if an employee reacts that way it’s because we set that message.
CIO in Telecommunication, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
What I've seen is that about 80% of the time we stay on track with what was committed for the year. The variability comes in when it comes to business applications. That’s where we need to be more flexible. Whether they’re ERP, CRM, BI, or web applications, they are more dynamic in nature, so you have to be in tune with what's happening with the business. Agility is necessary, especially in the business applications area which is front-facing. 

We tell my leadership team their indicator numbers for what we can execute, but also to always be partnering with our business leaders, and look at new initiatives and how the priorities are changing. Constant reprioritization happens depending on where the focus areas are, because there's a business driver around those initiatives.

So we talk to our team members about work plans in terms of certain things being more or less constant, and others requiring a bit of flexibility and reprioritization. Once you give that context, then those groups understand that they are supporting these business initiatives and there is a need for us to course-correct as needed.
Director of Technology in Government, 501 - 1,000 employees
Work plan rigidity can be bad if not tempered with flexibility. I feel that too much rigidity can limit the initiative of your employees as well as reduce innovation, while too much flexibility can cause employees to lose focus on the core business goals of your organization. I like to call ours more of an adaptive workplan.

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