Plans vs. Planning

We had intended to sail across Lake Ontario into Canada last week, but the weather and waves were not good, so we changed course for an equally long and still bumpy ride to Sackets Harbor. Another day brought high winds and waves, some as high as eight feet, but we continued on to our destination that day and actually enjoyed it. The contrast to a sailing trip last year couldn’t have been greater: we had no wind, no waves, and heat. No matter what sailing plan we deliver on shore, a capable crew makes all the difference when the boat leaves the dock.
Business plans are created in the relative calm of conference rooms. But everything can change when the plan is executed. Eisenhower said that plans are useless and planning is everything.
The reason nearly 90% of all business plans fail to deliver their promised results is not because the strategies are faulty, but rather because senior management often spends more time on constructing a plan instead of on implementing the strategy. A resilient organization capable of quickly adapting to changing conditions is critical to success. In many cases it is a primary source of competitive advantage. Creating a good plan is important, but success will depend on planning how you’ll implement your strategy.

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