What really is the value of a plan? It drives me a little crazy when I hear people say things like, “Things change so much around here, it doesn’t make any sense to have a plan.”
Let me alter that statement in a couple of ways and then you can be the judge.
“My plans never work out because they never reflect the changes that take place after I write the plan.”
“Every day I just wake up, see what happens, and respond accordingly.”
If you’re good with these two statements, stop reading. Go back to motivational posts on Twitter. You know, the ones like, “Only you can tell you you can’t do what you do for you.” But if you know or are wondering what is wrong with those statements, thanks for sticking around.
What’s the Point of a Plan?
Let’s begin with two of three primary purposes of a plan. The first is to articulate what it is you want, how you envision getting there, and how you will measure progress along the way. A plan has to evolve and adjust to the realities that impact its potential for success – positively or negatively, inside your control and outside of your control. Which leads to a second primary purpose of a plan – to anticipate and mitigate against those very things.
Here’s What’s Wrong
So here’s what’s wrong with the two statements. The first one assumes a plan should be static. It shouldn’t be. Of COURSE things change. We change our diets, our hair-dos, our minds, our underwear and yes…we have to change our plans.
The second one assumes that everything happens by chance. On the surface you might think it’s an optimistic point of view. I don’t need a plan because it’s just going to turn out good. But really, it’s a pessimistic way of looking at things. It is the equivalent of saying it really doesn’t matter what you do because things re just going to happen the way they are going to happen.
Can you imagine a sports team whose coach says, “OK, kids. Just get out there and play and we’ll see how it ends up.”
That’s what running a business without a plan is like. If that’s the way you want to play it, knock yourself out. But if you want to take a more cerebral approach, a great place to start is with my book Business is ART, on sale now. With this book, you’ll learn the ins and outs of creating your vision, forming strategies, and measuring success. Click here to order it today. While you’re at it, please check out my on-line video training designed to teach you the processes and templates described in the book. Clear here to view.