Is Planning Useless?

by Jay Deragon on 07/31/2009

100s-of-free-business-plans-medMost corporation are obsessed with having a plan. The plan is supposed to explain strategies, initiatives and actions that produce a desired result.

Much of the plan is tied to financial forecast which is used to communicate “planned results” with investors, markets, employees and suppliers.

The “planing process” usually includes an assessment of all the related factors that influence the business.  Once completed metrics are usually established to measure whether the collective actions of the organization are in fact creating the desired results predicted in the “plan.  Many leaders cannot operate without a plan. Planning ” becomes the “holy grail” for many and the effectiveness of the plan is measured by the results produced. If the results change then usually organizations change their plan. Sound familiar?

Can You Plan For Chaotic Change?

Historically change was incremental rather than constant.  Since it was incremental change was predictable and thus it was anticipated in the planning process. However, disruptive and chaotic change is not predictable thus trying to plan for it specifically is a waste of time and productivity.  During chaotic and disruptive change all you can plan for is more change.

If you haven’t noticed today’s economic, business, technological, political and global environments are all in a state of disruptive change.  No matter how hard the media tries to say “things are stabilizing” they are only saying so hoping to speak stability into existence.  Analyst and politicians are changing their stories, their spin and their ultimate justifications constantly because everything seems unpredictable.  Yet consumers, business markets and governments seem to ignore the constant state of flux we’re in and instead of simply accepting it they make yet another plan, another prediction and spin out the latest and greatest insights, their new plan.  Here is a clue, Few are believing anything you say so stop planning the way you have and plan for today.

No Plan Then What?

Suppliers can’t produce without a plan. Businesses can’t fulfill sales without suppliers. Market demands can’t be satisfied without supply. So what should a business, an individual plan on?

It isn’t about not planning rather it is about planning for the right things at the right time. Instead of thinking long term all planning must become short term and driven by real daily market data.  Throw out the high gloss thick plans and tell people to think and create one page short term plan regularly and adjust when the market adjust.  Sound impossible?

It isn’t when you simply consider that the basis of all plans are communications, data and collaboration collected, created, analyzed and distributed by human being, one to one to your entire audience.  Planning is now a real time function rather than a future function. To do anything less is a waste of time and productivity. Wasted time and productivity is a pathway to failure, both short and long term.

What are you planning for NOW?

{ 19 comments }

Jack Massari August 14, 2009 at 11:20 am

Plan for the right things at the right time to maximize productivity. http://snipr.com/ok6zj

Dexter Boyle August 1, 2009 at 3:18 am

I think yes, Planing is very much useless for me because whenever we plan something done something divers.

Thanks for the post.

brgy July 31, 2009 at 11:20 pm

Planning per si is not bad one should have a plan to succeed.
Ones you do what is planned it’s a smooth sailing and if a problem will arise its easy to spot and fix. But there’s another side of the coin, if a plan is bad from the very start instead of success your plan will be the cause of your failure.

Ed Dodds July 31, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Jay:

Just saw this http://www.xmind.net/ winner of Best Project for Academia of the 2009 SourceForge.net Community Choice Awards

Phil Novara July 31, 2009 at 10:43 am

Traditional planning is for investors. Investors want to know you have a solid plan put together, they want reassurance of ROI, they basically want to make sure your not wasting their money.

Companies can get too involved in planning and lose focus on executing . The best piece of advice is to just start working, and adapt. Make plans, but your main focus is execution and adapt with what the market throws you.

JDeragon July 31, 2009 at 10:16 am

New blog post: Is Planning Useless? http://bit.ly/1LfZXV

JDeragon July 31, 2009 at 7:19 am

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Angela Suddarth July 31, 2009 at 7:12 am

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Martin July 31, 2009 at 7:12 am

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Stephen Kincaid July 31, 2009 at 6:15 am

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Achievers Network July 31, 2009 at 5:46 am

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prblogs July 31, 2009 at 5:38 am

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JDeragon July 31, 2009 at 5:16 am

New blog post: Is Planning Useless? http://bit.ly/1LfZXV

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