“Plans are nothing… Planning is everything.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Maria Birkhead, Senior Facilitator at Myrna Associates, discussed this famous quote with a client’s executive team during a recent review meeting. She noted that Eisenhower’s quote is an amazing statement, coming from the person in charge of planning the Allied invasion of Europe during World War II. What did he mean by the phrase “plans are nothing”?
Eisenhower and his team spent months and years building the team, the strategy, and the capabilities for a successful invasion. It was a planning process that incorporated input from all of his team members. Prior to the invasion, all of the key players knew not only what to do, but why they were supposed to do it. They understood how their role fit with that of the other team members. They knew the impact of any deviation from the plan.
Eisenhower knew that it was the planning process that would win the day. Yes, the plan would be documented and distributed, but it wasn’t the document itself that would assure success. It was the process of dialogue, challenge, expert input, assessment of resources, and adjusting to conditions that would spell success.
This is how it works with strategic planning. It’s not the plan…it’s the planning. When your team works together to identify the issues, develop the strategy, build the schedule, assign responsibilities and assess the costs, success is almost assured. Team members know what to do, when to do it, why it’s important and how any changes will affect others.
Creating a strategy that captures a visualization of the future everyone is working toward is a key element of strategic planning. If you’re interested in having a facilitated strategic planning meeting that moves you from concept to tangible implementation, check out our service offerings online, contact us, by email or better yet, give us a call at (800) 207-8192 to arrange for a complementary consultation to determine if you are ready for strategic planning and if our program is right for you.