Imagine this scenario: Your boss requests a meeting for tomorrow where they are going to discuss the work plan for a great idea that you raised a few days ago.
Excellent, isn't it?
If you're like most people your brain will start rattling at 1000 an hour trying to formulate a plan about what you're going to say, what additional material or research you're going to need to support your big idea. All this around a presentation that is as professional as possible.
But how would you make that plan?
Should you start with the first step and work towards the meeting? Or rather you should think "backward" from the result and see how your future and present meet.
This seems like an arbitrary question, but according to a new study by the Korea University Business School, how you decide to plan your path to success has a great impact on the outcome.
Researchers conducted a series of studies by asking participants to plan for an important event or goal, such as meeting their boss or launching their new company. In one study, students were asked to create a study plan for a final exam in chronological or reverse order.
After the test, they compared the students' results with their planning method and found that those who planned backwards did better than those who planned ahead.
The researchers attributed these results to the fact that when we are told to start with our goal, it makes it feel more approachable and closer to becoming a reality.
They also found that people perceived they had a clearer set of steps to reach their goal when they planned backwards and felt more confident in the choices they were making.
That is, because they know where they want to end up and where they are now, they were essentially 'filling in the blanks' rather than faced with a wide range of options for how to get from their current position to their ultimate goal.
So how does this apply to our original scenario: the big boss meeting?
You may find that you need to collect documents, do more research, talk to a friend on the pitch, and choose the right outfit for the meeting. But instead of thinking about what you can do now and then being left with a multitude of paths to a successful meeting, start with the last essential step and work backwards.