No Plan Survives First Contact with the Enemy

To continue our theme of battle style quotes for April, we thought it fitting to add this one as well. The title is a phrase that has been spoken by many military leaders over recorded history, but it doesn’t apply to just battles, it’s also an important rule for life. While planning is essential to maximize productivity and stay on track towards your goals, you can’t become so attached to your plan that you are unable to adapt.

Never Rely on Your Plan

Wait, what? STARTplanner says don't rely on your plan??!!!?? Note, that there’s a huge difference between not having a plan and not relying on a plan. You should always set goals, including both short and long-term goals, and then plan out steps to accomplish those goals. A plan is a useful tool, as when you make your plan, you assess your goals and find possible issues. You can then use it to guide you moving forward. There’s a reason why investors who are considering financing a business will want to see the owner’s business plan first.

Once you go from the planning phase to the execution phase, you must be willing and able to adapt to the challenges that life throws at you. This is what separates those who succeed from those who fail. It’s extremely rare for everything to go according to plan. If you’re able to create a plan that is 100-percent accurate, you could just make a living as a fortune teller.

Here’s an example – let’s say there is a small business owner who is planning to launch a new product. He maps out the market research he’ll do, the product development, the focus group evaluations, how he will sell the product, and how he will market it. He has done everything right by planning this out in advance, so he’s off to a great start, but odds are none of these phases will go as he planned.

Product development could be costlier than he estimated. He’ll need to either adjust the product to cut costs, or set a higher price for the product so he still has a suitable profit margin. The focus groups could provide negative feedback on the product. He can’t just stick to his plan if that happens, because he may be launching a product that turns out to be a dud and loses him money. It would be smarter to use that negative feedback to modify the product, and then bring in focus groups again to see if the changes result in a better-received product.

Being Adaptable

How can you be more adaptable to ensure that you succeed at your goals? The smart approach is to always keep your end goals in mind, and make whatever adjustments are necessary to get you closer to those end goals. People who are set in their ways typically make little if any progress in life because they’re unwilling to change. But the world is constantly changing. Just look at how technology has advanced in the past few decades. A business that decided it wasn’t going to adapt with these technology changes would get left behind.

When you deal with an unexpected challenge, accept it and find a way to handle it. Keep track of your results so that you can see what’s working and what isn’t, and adjust accordingly. A planner is a great way to do this. You can write your goals in your planner, and then note your results as you work towards those goals. Instead of planning rigid steps on what you’ll do, go with a more general plan that allows you plenty of room to improvise when needed.
STARTplanner, lifestyle planning

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