As often as we hear about A Plan we believe that it’s the plan that is the thing. It isn’t. The execution is the thing. To arrive at the execution stage requires a proof of concept stage. Proving the concept of an idea can be a time-consuming process of research, study and hard work. Steps many idea people with a plan choose to avoid, regretting it later.
In this election year there are hundreds, no thousands I imagine, who have their names on election ballots around the country. These are intelligent, well meaning people from every walk of life in America who believe they can help to make things better. They are asking to be your Dog Catcher, your Mayor, your Judge, your congressman or congresswoman, and your President. Their confident message to voters always includes a sincere promise that they “Have a Plan”. As soon as elected they will share the plan with us.
For campaign reasons, and fear of divulging marketing secrets, they are not yet willing to share just what the plan might be. Glee in describing in detail what the problems are that these candidates are apparently ready to cure is meant to be enough to convince we voters that they can be trusted to actually deliver an earth shattering, amazingly brilliant, and instantly effective way to rid us of fears of all the terrible circumstances they have shared in mind numbing detail. I’m thinking maybe, maybe not.
Plans come in all shapes and sizes. There are short and simple plans that take very few words, “I’m going to exercise today”, to country-sized plans that take volumes of leather bound books to present, “The Users Guide to Governance”. Be careful of anyone who says they have a plan and then is unable to explain the plan. Chances are they don’t have one …yet.
Plans to many people are what should be called ideas. There are a lot of bad ideas. Consider the bills introduced by our state leaders every year or two in the chambers of the state capital. 4,000 bills might be introduced by the sixty house and thirty senate legislators in one session. These “ideas” are to be reviewed and approved in the six months of meetings these 90 representatives will have. In the end it has not been unusual for a mere 10% – or 400 – bills to become law. So, these bills, or Plans were just ideas that have been rejected before any real plan of execution could be created. The process is often tedious and unproductive.
There is truth in the quote, “failure to plan is planning to fail”. Most statistics will report that from 20% to 25% of businesses will fail in the first year. By the fifth year nearly 50% of businesses will fail. Common reasons for failure include a lack of a business plan and an unwillingness to make corrective changes as difficulties arise. It’s the plan with a proof of concept and the execution of that living plan that will improve the likelihood the business will survive.