Dwight Eisenhower is credited with saying, "Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” This makes some people uncomfortable - especially when quoted in the context of not planning. To some, this seems contradictory. It's not. Think about Eisenhower's most famous plan, the D-Day invasion in June of 1944. An enormous amount of planning went in to the preparation to take back France and the rest of Europe from the German's. But D-Day was originally planned for June 5th. Bad weather almost forced the Allies to revise their plan considerably.
A thorough understanding of what it would take to postpone the invasion until the next favorable season, and a real understanding of the risks associated with delaying and proceeding, put Eisenhower in a position to make his decision.
For most of us, the fate of the free world does not lie in our ability to get through the indispensible planning that prepares us to take advantage of opportunities or avoid the risks. It does matter, however. Don't let circumstance dictate your well-being and the well-being of your family and your employees and your customers. So what if your plan becomes useless. And it might. It's the process of planning - the practice of planning - that prepares you to take action when action is needed and to hold back when holding back is the smart thing to do.
We're coming into the time of the year when many businesses start their planning cycle for the coming year. Some of you are probably pretty far along. This has been a year when plans had to be revised. A lot of people were caught off guard - with their plans down, so to speak. For those of you who turned the corner, it was the planning - not the plan - that made it possible.
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