It was a Good Plan

My husband and I are working hard to re-enter the real world as we’ve just returned from a fabulous vacation in Mexico. Having recently experienced a lack of life balance, simply anticipating the week had provided serious incentive for hanging on. However, being so busy also meant that while we had managed to book the flights and hotel, we hadn’t done much else in terms of planning our itinerary.  Or perhaps we had? 

If planning is addressing the gap in between where one is now, and where one wants to go, we did have a plan. We were stressed and we wanted to be less stressed. As a result, to get from where we were (stressed), to where we wanted to go (not stressed), the plan was to do very little while we were away except relax.  Sounds like a plan to me.

Everyone plans. Whether it’s jotting down a to-do list on a scrap piece of paper or developing a proposal for a new business, planning is an essential component of our lives.  We work for businesses that depend on strategic plans to direct operations, we participate in clubs and organizations that rely on solid program plans and budgets, and we live in communities where priorities are often determined as the result of a strategic plan.

Despite its importance, it is a subject matter to which we typically pay very little attention. Planning is rarely taught in our schools or likely to become a subject of media debate. Yet, in a world that is constantly changing, planning is becoming increasingly important. It becomes even more important as we are faced with increased responsibilities and not enough time or money to do everything we want to do. Planning, or “preparing for tomorrow today”, helps us to determine what it is we want as our outcomes or goals and, just as importantly, how we are going to reach them.  Of course the challenge is to leave room to improvise by providing the right balance of framework and flexibility in our planning. 

Whether we are planning for our own personal and career success, business, service club, sports group, organization, department, or an entire community, those who are successful are those who understand the importance of having a plan and a vision to inspire and motivate action. Experts say that it is this ability to plan that is the main difference between being a manager and being a leader. The very essence of leadership is that you have a vision. As a wise man once said, “You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet”.

Even though it does seem rather simple, the reality is that there appears to be a shortage of visionary planners.  As ancient Chinese philosopher Sun YatSen once said, “In the construction of a country, it is not the practical workers but the idealists and planners that are difficult to find”.

Shortage of visionary planners aside, strategic planning remains crucial as a means of stimulating innovative thinking and clarifying future direction. The term “strategy” is derived from a Greek word meaning “the art of the general”. Just as military commanders make day-to-day decisions with a larger plan in mind, a strategic plan is important for ensuring an orderly, thoughtful decision making process that focuses attention on the most important issues and how they can best be achieved. 

Although our vacation plan was a plan not to plan, in most cases a plan could also be thought of as a list of actions arranged in the order you think will best help you achieve your vision. Our holiday plan resulted in many books read while lounging poolside, good food found in out-of-the- way restaurants, good conversations, walks on the beach, and perhaps, just a tad too many margaritas. It was a good plan. 

Posted on 06-13-10


I think that the best part of a plan is when it comes together and is achieved!  Sounds like you definitely achieved your plan!  Way to go.

•Posted by Barb Pedersen  on  06/14/10  at  06:45 AM

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