How to plan to be spontaneous

“The last thing I want for my business is a plan or a process. I need my people to be spontaneous and adaptable”. 

This is an actual quote from a business owner who is terrified of turning his employees into automatons. 

His fear is valid: at what point is too much instruction removing any capability for creative thought and problem-solving? 

That point is not when there are a plan and process in place, it’s when there is no plan or process in place. 

Structure leads to spontaneity

Our brains are not warehouses. Our brains are factories. We want to keep them active and lively. This is why we want to store as little as possible there. 

Decision fatigue is real, and it is exacerbated by excessive recall and forced willpower. In other words: if we are constantly using our brains to remember things, decide the next steps, and motivate ourselves, we are leaving no space for creativity and innovation. 

With more structure to follow, we can free up brain space for new ideas. 

Plan for new ideas

Let the plan and the process handle the simple things, that still burn brain energy

Repetitive tasks

There are certain things we have to do every time. 

Every morning we get up, drink coffee, brush our teeth, commute to work. 

Every project at work will require some repetitive steps. The difference is that these steps don’t come quite as naturally as brushing our teeth. We have to remind ourselves what they are, how they should be performed, in what order they must occur, and so on. 

That does not leave a lot of brainpower for when something out of the ordinary happens, or a new opportunity is hiding under a layer of tasks. 

By building structure for your repetitive tasks, you are allowing more brain space for

Variable tasks

A task – or a part of a repetitive task – that changes every time. 

This is where you want brainpower to go. 

To focus on what is unique to each client, or different in each project, or innovative and exciting, or disruptive and concerning. 

Business planning and business processes lead to business spontaneity.