Getting Things Done

Black Swan Group Blog.

Chris Voss, negotiator extraordinaire, publishes a regular blog. It is worth subscribing. This one, “How To Deal With A Liar” is typical and offers two interesting approaches. There is one thing in it that is a key to much more than negotiating.

The key point

“Yes is nothing without how.” later enhanced to “Yes means nothing. How is everything.”

The article talks about using how to overcome prefarication and misleading ideas, but the idea resonates throughout our life.

Replace yes with goals. Goals mean nothing. How is everything.

It is all well and good to want to have a retirement plan, maybe even begin one. The same for succession plans, debt reduction plans, and estate plans. Planning is not the point. Achieving the result is the point.

After what comes how

How is a tactical question. Theorists, like most politicians, are big on strategic ideas and thin on tactics. Like the green plan bouncing around Washington just now. There is no how attached, nor is there much discussion about how. If you cannot find or evolve how, the strategic vision is a dream, at best. High minded, beautiful sounding, but ethereal. Never to be real. A lie.

How is not enough either.

Studies have shown that close to half of all succession and estate plans are never implemented. A solid how is useless without implementation. Logistics matter. If you will not or cannot implement your plan, you are no better off than the person with nothing.

In a similar context Mark Twain has commented, “The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”

Planning is 4-part

  1. Have a purpose
  2. Address the “W” questions – what, what with, who, where, when, why, why not, and what if
  3. Connect tactics or methods to achieve the pieces. Address the limits and priorities that come out of the “W” study.
  4. Implement. Implementation has two parts. Bo Jackson’s famous, “Just do it!” and the 3 Rs that keep the plan evolving towards sucess. Record, Review and Revise.


A plan with no “How” is a lie. Unless you will carry it through, don’t bother yourself with such a dream. Things might work out by accident.

I help business owners, and professionals understand and manage risk and other financial issues. To help them achieve their goals, I use tax efficiencies and design advantages to acquire more efficient income and larger, more liquid estates.

Please be in touch if I can help you. 705-927-4770

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