The Randt

If Business Is A Dynamically Changing “Sport,” Why Are Most Business Plans Static?

How Are Your Plans Built?

Plans in people’s heads… Plans on whiteboards… Plans on napkins… And yes, of course, plans in PowerPoint.

Regardless of the format, for many companies, “plan” seems to be a four-letter word.

Flipping the calendar from March to April often represents another planning period. Say the term “planning session,” and many people become nauseated because they’re thinking about the amount of time and runaround that’s about to happen.

Planning is mandatory. It’s an unavoidable, important part of business. So, let’s get to the real issues regarding planning – the quality and the use of the plan. We hear people talk about plans and often hear many different phrases:

  • Plan the work. Work the plan.
  • Hope is not a strategy.
  • Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth (hope Jake Paul has lots of health insurance!).
  • Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.
  • If you fail to plan. You are planning to fail.

These phrases, or some variation of each, are often used to support differing opinions about plans. The problem is not with the statements themselves, it’s the rationale with which they are applied.

Let’s start with, “If you fail to plan. You are planning to fail.” This concept applies universally – business, sports, flying into space. Now consider, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good,” and the difference between Steve Jobs’ pursuit of perfection at Apple contrasted with Bill Gates’ focus on practicality at Microsoft.

Next, let’s look at the great orator😉, Mike Tyson, and his point, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”. This underscores the importance of adaptability, a timeless concept used by Eisenhower, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

Good Plans vs. Great Plans

Good plans are helpful guides; however, they often forget to address what we know – plans will change, and therefore, must be created knowing they will evolve. Great plans are robust assets that support today’s agile business world.

If companies know plans change and evolve, why do so many companies scramble on a quarterly basis? Public companies have continual pressure to meet short-term market expectations (meeting short-term street expectations versus long-term strategic planning is another concept for another day.) Midmarket companies are often limited by the information, tools, and time needed.

Continuous, Integrated Visibility

The common issue for many companies is the absence of plans that provide continuous inter-departmental visibility needed to produce real insights. There’s also the issue of, “paralysis by analysis,” caused by people either afraid to make changes or people covering their asses.

Every department needs a plan. Every departmental plan needs to be connected. It’s work. But when correctly done, it certainly makes an enormous difference.

Imagine a great plan. A smart asset that allows you to actively check-in, see different scenarios you’ve already considered, and quickly adjust as needed. Yep, we know the reality of business. We can’t plan for every scenario (until we start adding AI.) There will always be some challenge that wasn’t in a scenario. But even with these “oh sh@#t” moments, you’re ready because your planning process challenged the team to ask, and answer, the tough questions.

Go ahead, jump into the deep end of the planning pool. Challenge planning status quo and build great plans. They will drive company success and create an environment that’s beneficial for everyone.

Subscribe to the Randt

Rand Inc. will never abuse your email address.

"*" indicates required fields