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Monday
Aug312009

Keeping with a plan and when it is the right time to change plans

It takes a lot of patience, professionalism and effort to put together a good plan of action, whether it’s a business plan or an attack plan when it comes to your career. It takes tens times as much when it comes to following through with that plan. All too often artists, and even business people, will set up a great plan, but then slack on it, cut corners, change it without a solid reason or just go in an entirely different direction. Much of the time, this results in failure because a hodge podge of unorganized and erratic work leads to problems.

Now, before I get jumped on with a whole bunch of nasty emails, let me add that change can be good. It can be very good. Things can change along the way and it is the responsibility—check that—a requirement to learn and understand what is happening, what has to change and applying that knowledge to the work that has already been done to make it the most effective adjustment possible. So, please note, change can equal good when it is change for the right reasons. Change equals bad when it is change out of fear, laziness, exhaustion, frustration and/or lack of professionalism and effort.

The bad change

Sometimes a plan becomes more challenging and people become tired, lazy or for whatever other reason, excuse or justification, the plan gets altered. Most of time, people want to see immediate results. Even though the plan may be effective in the long run, many will get impatient and change it in order to get to the end more quickly. This only serves to harm the end result.

People telling others, “Well, you should do it this way,” or, “You can do it that way, it’s much easier,” are seriously dangerous seeds that only plant problems. Think of it this way: if you were building a BMW and you worked on building it according to the BMW plans, then about half-way through you just changed the plan and began to use the plans for building a motorized go-cart, do you think the end result would be what you wanted when you started?

In a lot of ways it is the same when it comes to a musician who stops doing their daily work to solicit, research and search for reviews. When an artist cuts back on advertising or alters his or her promotion, marketing or branding, this hurts the overall outcome as well as messes with the success of the many parts of the whole.

Alterations, Edits and adapting

A good plan will rely on many pieces working together efficiently. In this case, when you change one thing and do not consider the other elements, you may be inflicting far greater damage than you may realize. If you find something is not being effective, analyze it. Look at it from a distance and ask questions. Talk to others and think if any other additional changes will be needed in other areas to keep you moving forward in the right direction. Look at the big picture and make intelligent changes. Just changing something because you are tired of doing it, feeling frustrated or just lazy is not a good way to go.

Changing the plan due to things you can’t control.

Sometimes things are going to have to change because your plan includes spending money you do not have or have not made. This is one of the most common reasons a plan needs to be changed. The best approach, again, is to look at the bigger picture of what the change will mean and how it will affect all other areas. Instead of just cutting out the cost, look at what you can do instead that will push things forward the right way. For example, see if there are other areas that can be pushed a little harder or adjusted. Then, at the same time, adjust your expectations and your timelines with the understanding that things have changed.

Simple stupid and stupid simple

Most of this is pretty simple and pretty obvious. As a whole, it is not a challenging thing to do, but when an artist is caught up in a plan that feels problematic or ineffective, many look to immediate change as the first step. Be aware of how every alteration can effect a dozen other elements. Track yourself, watch for problems and brainstorm solutions and alterations. Maybe you need a massive change, maybe you need to radically alter something or maybe you need to stay on the exact course you’ve already plotted. Whatever the path, carefully review, analyze and look at the larger picture before you enact a change that will only end up hurting your goals—and your career.

© 2009 Loren Weisman

http://www.braingrenademusic.com

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