Thursday, August 11, 2022

Get Your Ducks In A Row (#MY Eng 58)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer', 'apples and oranges', 'cut to the chase', 'leave no stone unturned', 'that's the way the cookie crumbles', 'can't have your cake and eat it too', 'old is gold', 'putting the cart before the horse', 'mountain out of a molehill', 'pot calling the kettle black', 'bite the bullet', 'go the extra mile', 'silence is golden', 'the devil is in the details', 'sink or swim', 'once bitten twice shy', 'don't count your chickens before they hatch', 'don't put all your eggs into one basket', 'chicken and egg', 'walking on eggshells', 'flogging a dead horse', 'better late than never', 'storm in a teacup', 'between a rock and a hard place', 'darkest before dawn', 'empty vessels make the most noise', 'birds of a feather flock together', 'separate the wheat from the chaff', 'let sleeping dogs lie', 'open a can of worms', 'light at the end of the tunnel', 'trial and error', 'look before you leap', 'lightning in a bottle', 'on the same page', don't judge a book its cover', 'reinvent the wheel', 'shifting gears', 'throwing in the towel', 'jump on the bandwagon', 'passing the buck', 'breaking the ice', 'cracking the code', 'when it rains it pours', 'bigger fish to fry'm 'ball is in your court', 'back to the drawing board', 'square peg in a round hole', 'don't rock the boat', 'a whole new ball game', 'burning the midnight oil' and 'never say never'.

Making plans is the easy part. Brainstorming ideas. Drawing out timelines. Huddling around in weekly meetings. Setting agenda items. Delegating tasks around.

Execution the plan - now, that's when the tough gets going. New developments arise. Someone drop outs of the team abruptly. Errors in miscalculation. Wrong assumptions made. Everyone panics.

And the whole house of cards come tumbling down...

* * *

Even the best-laid plans can go awry. THat's why it's important to get your ducks in a row

Who or what are these ducks? They can be people, tasks, tools - basically all the basic items essential to the successful execution of your plan.

It's not just about gathering your best people, but putting the best person to do the task that best fits their abilities.

So what if you have the most advanced technological devices? Without proper training, they can be a roadblock and source of frustration for the unitiated.

Half the team may be geared up to go, but you may need to hold your horses and ensure the other half still wrapping up another project to be up to speed to avoid backlogs.

* * *

Project management isn't as easy it seems. It takes a very focused mind to map out all eventualities. A captain. A general. Someone with real leadership skills, who can instruct as well as inspire.

Ducks can be tricky creatures to tame. They'll swim in different directions in a pond. Poke them too hard, and you'll scare them away. It takes tremendous patience and a gentle touch to train them to swim in a row and flock together.

Life can get out of control, sometimes. But with proper planning and being adaptable enough to make quick turns, we can all manage to get all of ducks safely through the turbulent waters.

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