When Planning is a Roadblock

We’ve all had the experience of planning something in detail, only to see it all go wrong. Don’t let this stop you in your tracks. This idea of things not going as planned is well expressed in the saying, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”, which is an adaption of a line from the Robert Burns’ poem To a Mouse. The sentiment of course is that we simply cannot know how things will turn out, not matter how carefully we may plan. That of course is no reason not to plan. But, when I said don’t let this stop you in your tracks I was referring to a different aspect of progress.

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When we makes plans only to see them go awry there may be a tendency to throw up our hands and give up. This is an example of when planning is a roadblock and can paralyze us. Sometimes we simply cannot see a way forward. A classic example of this is starting a new business. Just how accurate can you be in planning? See The Business Plan – Hold On to the Napkin for some thoughts on this. Does not being able to see a way forward mean we should abandon the effort? Well, that depends. How strongly do you believe your idea is a viable one? Will you easily be able to make changes quickly and on the fly? The point is this. Simply not seeing the way forward is not in and of itself a reason to abandon something.

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Sometimes when planning is a roadblock the best thing to do may be to simply get started! If you’ve done home repair or improvement projects you probably know that sometimes there are unexpected things that no amount of planning would have accounted for in advance. Yet, does that mean you do not do the repair or improvement? Of course not! This is a case where being able to adapt and change things on the fly becomes critical. So you may be wondering, if this is a business blog what does all this have to do with business?

It’s the Same Process

Think again about starting a new business and remember that often you really have very little idea as to how certain things will be accomplished or perhaps even if your idea is really a good one. But, if you don’t try you’ll never know. If you think that everything has to be planned out in detail then you may never get started. This trying to plan everything even when there are unknowns that will remain unknown until you get to that bridge is what I mean by the phrase when planning is a roadblock. It is critical to realize that there are times when you simply have to accept the fact that there are unknowns, perhaps many of them. If you never get started nothing happens. Remember, you can change things as you go.

What about you and your company? Are you paralyzed by past times when things didn’t go as planned? Are you paralyzed because there are many unknowns or that you are venturing into new territory? The question is this. Do you want to stay where you are? If not then you have to accept two facts: One, all plans change and two, you’ll never know everything in advance.

If you want to know more, contact AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.


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