Once upon a time, in a far away land, there were three pigs who lived in a small cottage with their mother.
We all know the story.
A classic that I still love today, especially with all the creative versions that are now available.
Why do I bring it up? Because it contains a critical concept to success in business and in life.
You may remember that the first pig built his house out of straw, the second wood and the third brick.
But one day a hungry fox (who I assume just LOVES little pigs) pays them a visit one by one.
He starts at the house built out of straw and after the pig refuses to let him in he huffs and he puffs and he blows the house down.
He does the same with the house built out of wood and the same result – no more house.
But when it comes to the third house it’s a very different story.
He again goes through his routine, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in otherwise I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down.”
But this time when he tried the house didn’t move an inch.
He tried again, but to no avail.
Nope, that sucker wasn’t going anywhere.
Why? Because the pig had planned for contingencies.
I never really got the moral of the story as a child, but I assume that its message is, “If you work hard and plan ahead you will be thankful one day.”
I’m sure the third little pig was happy to know that his house withstood the onslaught of the fox but I’m sure it didn’t come as much of a shock to him because he had probably made a note to himself on his blueprints – “Install Anti-Fox Protection”.
This is an awesome story to use with both children and your management team.
In business, forward thinking, planning and hard work really are a formula for success.
Hard work is really just implementing everything in the plan.
And a good plan will plan for problems. It might not be foolproof, but it should cover all the bases.
The first element, though before drawing up a plan or getting down to it is simply seeing what isn’t there. It is this stage that most people have trouble with.
Once a decision has been made to move ahead, then plans can be drawn up and action can be taken but that first step is an important one.
The third little pig envisioned a house that would protect him from the forces of nature, mainly rain and snow and allow him to sleep soundly at night.
It may have taken longer, but as the story shows only his house survived.
Too many people want to get on with things. And in doing so end up hurting themselves.
Without plans, there are constant alterations being done that eat up precious time and resources. A plan keeps you honest.
That doesn’t mean things are set in stone, but rather everyone understands what they are doing.
I can’t tell you how often planning is overlooked. I’ve mentioned it before in a previous blog, but Brian Tracy says that “For every minute spent planning we save 10-12 minutes.”
Talk about a great investment.
Poor planning will result in lengthy delays (believe me), unforeseen costs (again, I’ve been there) and very likely animosity between the workers and their leader(s).
Most people respect action and under-appreciate planning.
I suppose it’s because one is tangible and you can see things taking shape, but every good project is always finished before it even get started. It’s the vision and the plan that make the action meaningful.
And whatever you do make sure your “house” can stop the “fox” getting in.
Be the third pig.