Plan And Do or Do and Plan

Sitting by the window, typing away on a 3-year-old MacBook. It’s still running fine – smooth and silky. The space is running low though, not surprise as it’s a meagre 128GB. I think my next upgrade will be switching out to a bigger SSD. The various sites I’ve been to all said it’s not a hard job. Right, it shall be my to-do list.

Been away for a week from work made me realise how much I dislike working in a cubicle. The journey – a miserable 1.5 hours of commute each way – 3 hours daily – is a chore. A friend told me one of the key reasons among unhappiness in workers, and one of the driving reasons for people to leave their post, has to do with commute. Generally, people who don’t have to travel too far for work are happier. They can afford to wake up slightly later (which means getting more sleep), return home faster (who doesn’t want this), and save a little more on transportation cost. Since I’ve moved house a year ago, I’ve been trying to adapt. It’s a laborious process where I don’t see any headway. Except working remotely.

During work, I’ve had plenty of discussion surrounding where we want to do for our new project, how we go about doing it, and how can we improve on our process. Each of us have our own working style. I’m the type that wants to plan, or have a general plan in place, thinking through the possible outcomes, before venturing out. My co-worker is one that doesn’t need much plan, preferring to do and learn from there.

Our difference in style leads to disagreements and intense discussions even though in private, we get along well. Working together with people I think I know well is hard, just like travelling with good friends I thought I know extremely well. Disagreements can lead to better outcomes, as different perspectives are being thrown out and considered. The key is not to be closed off from new ideas and viewpoints. We listened to one another, make our stand, and then decide what’s the next move. Back and forth, then eventually towards our goal.

A couple of weeks back, we wanted to setup an account to sell our products online. Though we have been in this business for over a decade, it was the first time we attempted selling direct to consumers. At that moment, we hadn’t nail on the precise brand name yet. We decided to use the name our overseas subsidiary is already using to start off.

We started to get orders. One, two, then five. 10, then 20. Sales were picking up. However, our management concluded that we shouldn’t use the same brand name with our overseas subsidiary due to the difference in business direction. What’s going to happen with our current name then? One established e-commerce marketplace we are selling in said they can’t help us to change it. Why should they? We are just a small fish in their big pond?

If everything don’t work out, we will just start a new account and build things up again. The reviews we have, the relationships we developed, the brand we build, everything will have to be done from scratch again. It’s not so from that we have to do them again, it’s starting off with the right foot. Not knowing what we want and just barge head in.

Would we have gotten this much sales, learn so many things, had we not done this? What’s the worst that can happen? Starting from scratch.

I’m questioning the wisdom of this convention. No, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we never do this. On the contrary, I’m appreciating that we did get started and learn as we go along. After all, we don’t learn how to swim by watching videos.

I may be a skeptic of rushing in before planning. But results have shown that it’s better to just go in and not over-complicate things. If things don’t work out, use a different approach and try again.