Monday, November 17, 2014

“Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”

By Al Norval

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes by John Wooden, legendary basketball coach at UCLA where he won 10 NCAA national basketball championships over a 12 year period including an incredible 7 in a row.

I like this quote not only because it’s a nice play on words but more deeply because it’s simple, it’s obvious and painfully true.

Given that, why do so many organizations fail to plan?

Are they really planning to fail?

Granted most organizations have some semblance of a strategic plan. It may take the form of a financial plan or a 900 slide PowerPoint presentation commonly referred to as “PowerPoint Junk”. True story – even the executive version was 90 slides long and completely incomprehensible.

True planning means taking the time to grasp the situation and think deeply about the issues, then determining countermeasures that are testable. It means deploying these countermeasures by focussing the organizations resources on these countermeasures and aligning the organization to their execution. It means having a quick check/ adjust process for when things go off plan.

In reality most organizations actually do have a plan, it’s just that outside the leadership team no one knows what it is or how the work they do contributes to it and therefore people don’t follow it and don’t impact it.

So the reality is – they are planning to fail.


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