Hokey Plans Can Be Effective

By Chris Crouch

As Jimmy Buffett said in his song: “What if the hokey pokey is what it really is all about?” Here are three things I like about the hokey pokey: 1. It’s simple. 2. It’s easy to understand. 3. It’s easy to implement.

Hold these thoughts for a moment.

It’s that time of year for some of you. Time to make new plans for a new year. It seems to me that the hokey pokey can serve as a great model for developing successful business plans and strategies. I mean, come on, how hard is it for most of you to put your right foot in an imaginary circle, and then take it out, and then put it in again and then shake it all about? And what about doing that funky hokey pokey dance and then turning yourself about? And finally, how difficult is it to keep repeating this pattern with various body appendages until time to wrap up the process by putting your entire body in the imaginary circle and shaking it all about?

Go ahead, I dare you to get a mini flash mob together at work, go to the break room or outside and lead them in a hokey pokey session right now. Scientists now know that the brain cannot tell the difference between a real and an imagined event. So even if for some reason you cannot do the hokey pokey physically, you can do it mentally. You can read the rest of this article later.

Now, if you were open-minded enough to get a group together and do the hokey pokey (and you all still have jobs), think about some of the things you learned. It is easy to do it on your own; it is easy to do it as a group. Everybody can master and execute their part pretty quickly. If you were flexible (or brave) enough to actually take a group of co-workers out to the parking lot and lead them in the hokey pokey, no one in the group will likely forget it soon. Unfortunately, by contrast, most strategic plans are easily forgettable. And unless you are a total curmudgeon, the hokey pokey is fun. Doing it makes you feel like a kid again.

Getting important things done at work requires that individuals do their jobs well and that groups work well together. It is a good idea to break plans down into step-by-step, reasonably easy-to-execute actions for everyone in the group. Everyone in a workgroup should be able to easily remember and execute his or her part of the plan. And, if at all possible, work should be fun.

Dwight Eisenhower once said, “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensible.” Maybe Ike and his generals should have tried doing the hokey pokey occasionally during war-planning sessions. If nothing else, it would have certainly confused enemy spies. Who knew Jimmy Buffett and Ike could help us so much with our plans for the new year?

Chris Crouch is CEO of DME Training and Consulting and author of several books on improving productivity. Contact him through www.dmetraining.com.