Plan or Wishful Thinking?

“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”  ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Some people despise planning. They prefer to jump in thinking they’ll figure it out as they go.

I understand that time and mental space are valuable resources and flexibility is a critical organization skill. But, rarely have I seen a first round idea be the best, brightest or most useful opportunity for an organization.

Engaging colleagues in exploration of ideas almost always results in a stronger concept. Here are a few questions to consider as you examine current programs or explore new ideas and opportunities.

The basics are always a good place to start:

  • What are we trying to achieve?
  • Who are we attempting to serve?
  • Which organization or division goals will this advance?

Maybe ask a couple new questions and see where the discussion leads you.

  • What is the most significant challenge to achieving ____?
  • What is right with this idea?
  • What will success look like?

Plans are helpful to ensuring good investment of organizational resources. However, a truly a successful organization is one that is strong enough to develop a plan, flexible enough to monitor and navigate the environment and smart enough to refine and execute a change in plans.

2 thoughts on “Plan or Wishful Thinking?

  1. Jen, great article! One thing I’ve found that organizations struggle with is that flexibility piece – once you make a plan, how do you keep it relevant, top of mind, and adaptable? What questions or processes have you found are good for that flexibility?

    • Great questions. Living the plan and being flexible are challenging for many organizations. A few things I’ve seen work are using questions such as “how does this (new product, resource, etc) advance our strategic goals?” in the decision making process. Or to keep a fresh perspective, discussing “how have member/market needs changed in the last __ (time span)?” or “what assumptions are we making about ___?” It is always helpful to consider “when was the last time we invited new people (or people with different perspectives and experiences) to be part of the conversation?”

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