Some of the best planning happens out-of-process. And it’s the hardest kind of planning there is.

The water cooler!

 Process planning is simple. It’s the client briefs, the creative strategies, the market research, and POVs that make up your day. It’s the emails waiting in your inbox, the meetings waiting for your arrival, and the whiteboards ready for some planning love.

But what about the planning that happens “off the books”?

What about the watercooler strategy discussions (not just small talk), the “Hey! What are you working ons?”, the “Why is that important?” pushbacks, and the “Let’s go for a coffee” walk-alongs. These are the moments, I’d argue, when planning is most valuable. Sure, it may not clear a brief off of someone’s desk, or send your client home with a smile on their face.

But it provides inspiration. It helps people see their work in a new light… in a new way. And it challenges thinking where it may, in all probability, go unchallenged.

Isn’t that what planning is all about?

I think more planners, myself included, should place a higher value on out-of-process planning, and work to integrate it into more of the work week. That may mean blocking off time for it, and even (God forbid!) opening a docket. It will also require training yourself to become better at what out-of-process planning requires. Namely, social skills. Hah!

So next time you’re at the water cooler, throw out a “Why is that important?”, and see how out-of-process planning works for you.

Read more from John at The Planning Notepad

About John Krissilas

John Krissilas has written 5 post in this blog.

Old dog. New tricks.