In chess, the saying goes: ‘A bad plan is better than no plan at all’.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower, on the other hand, said: ‘In preparation for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable’.
The beginning of the year is for many a time for planning. Does it make sense to do so when the world has become extremely volatile, everything changes very quickly, and it is difficult to take a long-term view?
Is the US general right that plans are useless? It is difficult to predict what customers, prospects, competitors, suppliers, business partners will do or whether technologies, regulations or market moods will change in the meantime.
In fact, it is precisely because everything changes so radically and rapidly today that the process of creating a plan remains extremely important. Making a business plan for example requires stopping to analyse the current situation. Investigating all the factors already mentioned, the agents inside and outside the organisation, often conducting a SWOT analysis. This allows us to delve deeper into certain issues, to realise more clearly the current state, but also some changes that are already underway.
This work may lead to inadequate plans, or plans that will become obsolete in a very short time. The amount of information and reasoning conducted to produce those plans is an asset that remains and will enable us to react better prepared to new challenges that appear on the way. We will be less taken by surprise, and even when it happens we will be able to respond more promptly on the basis of the knowledge gained during the planning phase.
So what to do?
Always be prepared. Make a plan and try to put it into practice. At the same time, never blindly trust your plan: things will change and you will probably have to constantly readjust it. Instead, trust the process, skills and knowledge developed during its creation.
At Digital Punk we believe that planning is important, and that it is even more important to share it with the whole organisation. To be always ready for change.