Plan + Organize + Lead + Control: A $30,000 College Course in Five Minutes (for free)

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The most important note I ever took in college.

Everything useful I learned in college fits on less than five pages in a small notepad.

I typically don’t take notes, and, if I do, most often it’s only to identify a keyword or short phrase that will help jog my memory later. I learned in third grade that listening intently to lectures produced better test results and information retention than trying to write everything down.

The majority of the information in my small notepad is from one class: “Fundamentals of Business Management (FoBM).” In the very beginning of FoBM class the instructor said, “If you only remember one thing from this course, remember these four functions of management:

PLAN / ORGANIZE / LEAD / CONTROL

I wrote it down. :-)

The “everything I learned in college” notebook contains an additional visual aid that dives into more detail about those four functions:

PLAN: Set goals
ORGANIZE: Place people
LEAD: Articulate the vision
CONTROL: Measure results

I am pleased to say that EVERY SINGLE DAY I rely on the these four functions… I honestly cannot say that about any other college course or subject!

This exclusive Medium article (my first) will detail the four functions of management and how I implement each principle in the realm of creative production.

What was the most important thing you learned in college?

Do you use it everyday?

Hopefully your notebook is filled with hundreds of pages of lessons that enrich and guide your choices in business and in life… for me, it all comes down to four little letters: P+O+L+C.

PLAN

All I wanted to do was impress a girl. So, in 2014, I embarked on a quest to finish a 20-year quest to write and produce an original album.

FOUR YEARS LATER, I found myself sleeping on the floor of a bedroom studio at night on a mattress that doubled as acoustic wall treatment during recording, mixing, and mastering throughout the day… and the worst part was I couldn’t even remember which girl I was trying to impress in the first place!!!

But I did remember I had a plan. A goal. A worthy goal, in fact. That worthy goal did not changed, nor will it ever change:
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“Earn a living to support myself and my family by sharing an intimate, emotional connection with you through the magic of music…”
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That, to me, is both an achievable goal and a goal worthy of achievement.

Many business leaders fail miserably when it comes to setting worthy corporate goals.

Do you remember that scene from the movie A Beautiful Mind when the plan was to ignore the super-attractive woman in the bar? Its premise always stuck with me: the best results come when we simultaneously do what is best for us AND the group.

Much too often, corporate goals fail to take into consideration what is simultaneously best for employees, customers, and the company.

In essence, one group is ALWAYS going to get shafted if worthy goals are not carefully and deeply considered from a wide range of differing perspectives prior to implementation.

It is of equal importance to make sure the direction we desire to go is on the right path to achieve a worthy goal. In this way, we can more quickly adjust to meet and overcome unforeseen challenges as they arise.

What is your worthy goal, personally? How about professionally?

It’s perfectly okay to spend more than a day preparing a steady course that will lead you safely to your destination.

’Tis better to remain in the harbor until fully supplied than to prematurely starve at sea. After all… this is the journey of a lifetime.

ORGANIZE

Every week, it seemed, there would be a new chart followed by an email:

“EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY Labia Chestnuts is the new head of Tea Time Pot Cookies and will report directly to Ignutt Heyseed.”

Internally, I would simultaneously laugh while I cried at the ineptitude of corporate leadership to piece together an organizational chart that put the right people in the right places.

No matter which industry a business conducts its business, one thing remains the same:

To make a great product or provide a great service, great people are needed

AND

those great people are needed in roles that maximize their strengths, minimize their weaknesses, and align with their short- and long-term career goals.

In the four functions of management (POLC) the “O” stands for “organize.” Organizing, in this instance, is the process of putting together an organizational chart that serves to set the reporting structure. It answers the question, “Who is in charge of what?”

Any employee who is consistently peppered with ever-changing organizational charts should take a long weekend to carefully consider the company’s executive management competency and stability.

Thinking about this concept the past few days I originally wanted to apply the “organize” function as “How to find the right people and where they fit in your life” advice.

Now, though, I see the lesson I learned most in the real-world about the big “O” is how important it is to simply hire the right people. The same principles apply to personal life. Put together a great team that possess unique skill sets yet share common goals.

It’s not simple, but it is straightforward. :-)

LEAD

“Articulate the vision.”

I love that definition of leading. After all, words are my tools and writing is my trade.

Of the four functions of management (Plan, Organize, Lead, Control) leading is the least prominent skill set in the business world.

There are many “leaders” in position (or title) but true “articulators” are few.

We can look throughout history and see that on virtually every occasion we find a successful entrepreneur we find an incredibly skilled communicator. Organizational efficiency depends, in large part, on employees pulling in the same direction with the same goals in mind.

It’s tug o’ war, on a massive scale:

When everyone combines efforts at the same time in the same direction, considerable force is created. Contrastingly, if one or more team members either aren’t providing maximum effort, or even worse, pulling in the wrong direction, the game is assuredly lost.

As leaders, it is our job to communicate corporate goals in such a way that each team member is inspired and motivated to give maximum effort with maximum efficiency.

“Inspired” in the sense that our goal is worthy of achievement; I like to call it “inspired by desire.”

“Motivated” in the sense that exceptional individual effort is compensated fairly.

Leadership is not limited to the corporate world.

Setting worthy goals in our personal lives requires us to utilize leadership skills, too. The more friends and family we have on our side supporting and encouraging us in the journey of life, the greater our chances of short- and long-term success.

Words are powerful, so communicate clearly.

Articulate your vision with certainty, and success will certainly follow your lead.

CONTROL

The last phase of the 4 functions of management is the controlling phase, where the question is asked:

“Did you achieve your worthy goals?”

I would estimate that this “controlling” phase is where I spend the most time after “planning.”

Forty days is a great time frame for being able to measure whether or not implemented processes are efficiently bringing positive results. At the beginning of my first series of 40 consecutive days’ worth of narrative journals, I didn’t have a podcast. I didn’t have a streaming music release with vocals. I didn’t have a Genius page, or a Spotify page, or a Twitch page, or a Giphy page.

Website content was sparse and didn’t include SEO or AMP. My IMDb profile did not include episode info from the A Bedroom Boy’s Best internet TV series. My Vimeo had no video.

The process of consistently producing content and accomplishing small tasks on a daily basis yielded phenomenal results.

When I started a second 40 days series, I kept the processes intact but began to narrow my focus back to music. I determined the steps needed to complete my album while maintaining a strong daily social media presence.

Constant utilization of Plan + Organize + Lead + Control helps guide my steps on the path to success in business and life.

Where are you in the process today?

Start with a worthy goal (plan), put the right people in place (organize), articulate the vision (lead), and measure the results (control).

You’ll be amazed how much can change after forty days of P+O+L+C!

Written by

Passionate + Storyteller. Singer, songwriter, speaker. President of RDGE. Make. Be. Live… Like me. :-)

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