Planning vision, structure, detail, budget, timelines and accountability

On November 21, 1930 the mast was erected on the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building, making it the tallest free-standing structure in the world, a distinction it held until late 1970 when it was surpassed by the World Trade Center North Tower.  Original designs for the Empire State Building was to erect a mere 50 story office structure, until plans were changed to build an 1,250 foot edifice that would exceed the 925 foot height of the Bank of Manhattan Trust Building (now called the Trump Building or 40 Wall Street) and the 1,046 foot Chrysler Building both of which were under construction when the building plans were changed. With the addition of the mast (or antennae) on the roof of the 102nd floor, the Empire State Building would reach a height of 1,454 feet.

What makes the Empire State Building amazing, however, is not that it’s an architectural and engineering wonder, but it’s testament to good planning. In total, there were actually 15 different design changes before construction began on March 17, 1930. Amazingly, the Empire State Building was erected at the rate of one floor per day for 102 days. Anyone who has ever been the victim of a kitchen renovation will realize that the construction of the Empire State Building was very planned and extremely well executed.

Anyone who aspires to reach the upper heights of performance, accomplishment and career advancement needs to implement mechanisms in proper planning. Those mechanisms include starting with a vision, designing a skeletal infrastructure, adding details, estimating costs, assigning timelines and finally (perhaps most importantly) having accountability partners who know the plan, understand the mechanisms, are privy to the budget and who will hold you and other partners accountable to the timeline. 

In Aararat, we call this process:

“Plan your work, then work your plan”