Monday, April 19, 2010

Plans are only stakes in the ground

Are you a meticulous planner or a John Lennon “Life is what happens while we're busy making other plans" kind of manager. I must admit I lean toward Lennon's view of things. Having said that I always have a plan or an overall vision and I believe plans are essential .... as long as they don't become straight jackets. I’ve seen many managers plan themselves to obscurity and then wonder why no one takes any notice of them.


J.KANNAN said...

Hi Trevor,
As usual the smart and intelligent way of presenting things to make readers ponder over!!!!!!.

I am a planner undoubtedly as I do believe in..............
"Do not Fail to Plan unless you have Plan to Fail" and I find nothing wrong in making plans, let whatever happen in life- take the stake from the ground level to "Sky High" with proper plans.............and mind you that you only live once and if you live right with right plans ,once is enough.


Trevor Gay said...

I love plans too JK.

Having a plan generally means we know where we are going. But also I like the creative possibilities that occasionally getting 'lost' presents us with .... I guess I like a bit of ‘organised chaos’ if that’s possible :-)

Mark JF said...

I suspect that many people reading this blog (and related sites) are independent or small business folks: nothing wrong with that, at all. But I suspect that not many work for a multi-national, quoted company.

So, try telling The City or Wall Street that plans are only stakes in the ground. And by extension, trying telling your pension fund manager that your plan was only ever a stake in the ground...

I agree there can be "paralysis by analysis" and over-complication. But if you work in a public company, plans are commitments. You forget this at your peril.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Mark – I agree with you ‘planning’ is very different in small or sole trader businesses.

My experience however of ‘planning’ in the third biggest employer in the world – the NHS - was that planning was ‘paralysis by analysis’ most of the time. A whole academic industry would be developed by the ‘planning department’ – a group of eccentric individuals who inhabited a world that was alien to most of us relatively normal human beings who just wanted to get on and do the job.

It would be interesting to see what value added the ‘planning department’ actually brings to any organisation that could not be achieved or bettered by operational managers and their teams of employees ‘doing’ the planning. Needless to say the latter is my preferred model.

I’m not anti-planning at all – I love to plan and I always have a vision. I just worry that planning is too easily allowed to become an industry in itself, marginalised from the real work when in fact planning should be a fundamental and central part of the work of every manager, team and employees in any organisation.

Marilyn Jess said...

When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Old saying, with a lot of merit, I think. JK, you're right on the mark, as always.

Every major goal I've reached in life started as a thought, then it became a goal. A goal takes many steps to reach, that's the plan.

Does that mean I'm inflexible, and must stick to the original plan? Not at all, if one isn't flexible, and able to see a better way, and course correct, as they say, life can get rather dull.

I think of it as a voyage. Every captain knows where they are headed next. Yet, in the air or on water many, many course corrections are needed to stay on course to the destination. Detours can happen, sometimes they're exciting detours. When you real the goal, that's exciting!

Great discussion topic, Trevor.

Trevor Gay said...

I like the structured approach Marilyn – I guess we all do much the same – set goals achieve them and move on to the next one. That sound like a plan.

Flexibility in all things is useful motto methinks. They tell me even the tallest tall and to the naked eye firm buildings sway an inch or two …. I’m sure the engineers among us will correct me if I’m wrong.