Plans Are Disciplinary Devices, Not Google Maps

Folks who are new to planning, even 1-page strategic plans, often just don’t start. 


Well, there’s a defeatist fog that overcomes them.

If the plan tells me what to do, what if circumstances change? Then, it’s worthless, and I have to start all over?

Hmmm… Sound familiar? Yeah. 

Most everyone I know in the industry changed much of their 4P playbook in 2020. Changing your playbook is no reason not to plan. The plan is more than a set of moves.

It contains a key, anchoring element: a competitive strategy one-liner. This itself should include the core principles for selecting 4P moves. A strategic plan’s actual value is a disciplinary device that forces you to plan, execute, measure, and iterate. And forces you to NOT repeat until you can measure. 

If your team has little internal accountability, though,a strategic plan is truly a waste of time.

A plan is not a Google map directions list with steps. It’s a disciplinary tool. And discipline requires internal team accountability.

So, if you’re skeptical about planning it should be because you’re not a great leader and your team has weak accountability. Then, yes, don’t plan.

Otherwise, it’s an essential instrument that will undoubtedly give you a competitive advantage over your planless peers on the shelf.

Dr. James Richardson

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