Sometimes managing your business feels like navigating through a maze of strategic decisions, effort, problems to solve, and projects to tend to. It’s like as soon as you finish one initiative you have to start from scratch on the next one. This might feel like a treadmill — always running, yet never making forward progress.

That’s likely because you’re not invoking a framework or system in how you manage projects and strategic initiatives in your business. We often see teams just winging it and not using repeatable processes for project briefing, execution, and debriefing.

Coming from a military background I have strong opinions on operational frameworks and the value they provide teams. A common framework used in military and business operations alike is the “Plan, Brief, Execute, Debrief” (PBED) method.

Drawing from that experience, we implement a similar framework in our company and the companies we work with.

We call it the PARE Method. This approach is inspired by what I learned in the military but adjusted for business. We find it offers a straightforward plan that works across industries and for teams of all sizes. Let’s dig in.

Plan: The Foundation

The initial phase of the PARE Method, Plan, is about setting a clear direction. It’s a single phase which combines planning and briefing. It’s where leaders take a step back to assess their landscape, identify opportunities, and articulate their vision. This stage is important, especially in startups and high growth companies where the pace of change is relentless, and the temptation to chase every emerging trend is strong. By planning effectively, leaders can prioritize initiatives that align with their core objectives, ensuring that resources are allocated efficiently and impactfully.

Planning also serves as a precursor to developing robust Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). SOPs provide a framework that ensures consistency and quality, enabling teams to execute with confidence and precision.

With a strategic plan in mind it’s time to move to briefing your team. In military operations, the briefing is a pivotal moment – it’s where strategy is translated into actionable directives. For tech companies, this translates to the ability to distill complex strategies into clear, actionable plans that teams can rally behind.

A well-executed briefing is like a quarterback calling the play. It sets the stage for how the team will execute, clarifying roles, expectations, and the path forward. Briefing is about empowering teams with the knowledge and direction they need to move forward with confidence.

Action: Executing On Your Plans

In the Action phase we shift from strategic planning to executing the project. This stage is where the rubber meets the road, and the plans are put into motion. However, it’s crucial to balance adherence to the plan with the flexibility to navigate unforeseen challenges and opportunities.Executing the plan ensures that every step taken is aligned with the overarching goals, maximizing the chance of success and a positive ROI.

Review: The Power of Debriefing

The Review phase is where reflection and learning take center stage. In the military, debriefing after an operation is essential for understanding what worked, what didn’t, and why. In the business context, this phase allows teams to analyze their performance, gather insights, and identify areas for improvement.

This iterative learning process is invaluable for tech companies, where the landscape is constantly evolving. By embracing a culture of review and continuous learning, organizations can adapt more quickly, innovate more effectively, and maintain a competitive edge.

Engage: Iteration and Continuous Improvement

Finally, the Engage phase is about applying the lessons learned and iterating for continuous improvement. Business by nature is cyclical. If you plan for cycles and not just one-off initiatives, you will have a higher success rate and better performance overall. The ability to rapidly apply learnings and adapt strategies is a significant competitive advantage.

Doing Less, Better

The PARE Method is one way we help teams “do less, better.” In a world where leaders are often tempted to pursue multiple initiatives simultaneously, the PARE Method advocates for focus and mastery. By concentrating on fewer, more impactful initiatives, companies can reduce friction, enhance efficiency, and achieve greater levels of success.

Moreover, the PARE Method addresses a common pain point among business owners and leaders: the feeling of being overwhelmed or controlled by their business. By adopting a structured, intentional approach to planning, action, review, and engagement, leaders can regain control, streamline operations, and lead their companies with renewed clarity and confidence.

The PARE Method offers a compelling framework for orgs to navigate the complexities of growth. By embracing simplicity, clarity, and continuous improvement, leaders can steer their organizations towards sustained success, making the most of the opportunities that the fast-evolving tech landscape presents.

About the Author: Cam Fulrath

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Cam Fulrath is a Managing Partner at Cross/Section. Prior to founding Cross/Section, he served in the US Navy and is a TOPGUN graduate and Tactics Instructor. At Cross/Section he focuses on operational rigor and excellence, systems, processes, and leadership development.