Making a Plan, Making a Decision

There is a chasm between making a plan to do something and actually doing it. I've been in Zimbabwe for eighteen months and have heard the same (and sometimes different) people discussing the same ideas over and over and over and over. I have some favorite requests that I receive and thought I'd pass them along. They include, always in document format, the following:

  • Please provide a five year business plan;
  • Please provide an architectural design plan;
  • Please provide an implementation and roll-out plan;
  • Please provide an organizational change management plan; and
  • Please provide a plan.

There is nothing wrong with a plan. However the plan is not the item of worship. In fact, the moment the plan is constructed it is rubbish anyway -- stale, out-of-date, yesterday's news with yesterday's context. The item of interest is the execution. The action.

Any ten-year old kid is capable of constructing a plan. If you want deeper levels of consideration including risk, issue, mitigation, dependency, estimation and the like, you'll need to go with someone who has more experience in life and project efforts. However, even after having a very thorough, very well-thought out plan full of pages and pages of diagrams, bullet lists and impressive fonts, the plan is only a plan. It doesn't get up and implement itself. The plan can't put together a team, build a product or deliver it to market. The plan only talks about what people are to do. And the older a plan becomes before someone attempts implementation of any sort, the more rubbish the plan contains. Circumstances change, people, budget, needs, risks, dependencies, etc. The older the plan, the more rubbish it contains.

I'm not impressed by your car, suit, ring, watch, glasses, haircut or university degree. I'm impressed by your ability to actually do something or otherwise get something done. None of us are getting any younger or better looking (despite what the media tells you), so we either need to actually do something or get out of the way for those who can and will.

As for me, I'm moving on. I'm tired of talking. I want action and result. See it. Plan it. Do it. The focus is on do it. Talk is compost. Even then, compost actually benefits the soil promoting growth. So maybe talk is not equal to compost. Interesting.

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