How about the following platitudes: “No surprise is the best surprise” … “Say what you are going to do, then Do what you said you would do” … “Plan the work, then work the plan”. Sound familiar?
The fact of the matter is, we all know that this Emperor has no clothes. The dirty little secret that we all know but never admit to each other, is that nothing ever happens according to plan. In fact, the best way to ensure that something doesn’t happen is to put it in a plan !!! On the rare occasion when it does happen, it feels like we’ve just won the lottery !!
Here’s my point. Plans are typically built, based on historical experience and patterns. We typically forecast what it is that is going to happen, based on our historical experience of what actually has already happened. My contention is that this does not cut the mustard when it comes to the future. Unless you are Nostradamus, flexibility will trump the ability to put together a plan that anticipates all eventualities.
It is instructive to look at the big picture of the key title events of the new milenium:
- 2000 – Y2K
- 2001 – 9/11
- 2002 – Tech Bust
- 2003 – Corporate Accountability (Tyco, Enron, Anderson)
- 2004 – Iraq War
- 2005 – Tsunami; Hurricane Katrina
- 2008 – Banking & Financial Crash (MBS) leading to Great Recession
- 2010 – Massive unemployment as businesses hunker down to dig out of the recession;
- 201x – ???
Of course I am being somewhat tongue in cheek here to make a point — there is power in the planning process. But there is huge danger in becoming overly complacent with the static output of that process — the plan.