lead the way

Plans are Useless

  1. September 13th, 2011  | 

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Published in Strategic Planning

The general who orchestrated D-Day – General Dwight Eisenhower – said, “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

It’s true that a poor planning process is a giant distraction and a huge waste of time.

Which may explain why four out of five small and mid-sized businesses don’t operate from a written plan.

What’s stopping you?
Do you believe that preparing a budget is the same thing as preparing a plan? Planning is not about budget building. It’s about trust building. Budgets are built after your plan is built.

Not sure how to create a realistic plan? I’ve spelled out the two-day process in my book Lead The Way.

Concerned that planning is a giant time-waster because no single individual really owns what’s in the plan? Involve those that will execute the plan. Establish rewards and penalties as part of your plan. Failure to set expectations on the front end means chaos, emotional turmoil and under-performance on the back end.

Concerned that changing marketplace conditions will render the plan obsolete within weeks of its development? Set up monthly accountability meetings to check status, address issues and adapt.

The paradox of planning is that the very act of preparing a plan will help you and your team pinpoint significant opportunities for increased effectiveness and profitability even though the chances are good you won’t implement your plan as it was developed. What’s more, a written plan becomes the contract to drive accountability in the workplace.

This is what makes planning indispensable.

About the Author: Greg Bustin advises some of the world’s most admired companies and leaders, and he’s dedicated a career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of hundreds of companies in a range of industries. He’s facilitated more than 200 strategic planning sessions, he’s delivered more than 500 keynotes and workshops on five continents, and he coaches leaders inspired to take their career to the next level. His fourth leadership book—Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture (McGraw-Hill) — is a Soundview Executive Best Business Book.

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