“Plan on your plan never going according to plan.” – Morgan Housel
What’s the use of a plan if it’s not going to work out? Almost any plan is better than no plan. Daniel Kahneman tells a story about a Swiss army unit finding themselves lost during a blizzard in the alps. When they finally come out of it, they’re asked how they survived and they hand over a map. The map is of a completely different location.
An incorrect plan, or a wrong map in the Swiss example, can be of valuable use. A plan gives us focus. A plan gives us confidence. A plan means we’ve set goals. Goals mean we have actionable steps – strategies and tactics – to make progress with. A plan is a belief in a path forward.
Developing and executing plans is a form of practice. It’s structured learning. Lesson plans in a classroom and battle plans in a war have different stakes but they share a structure. Both are likely to be altered when the world intervenes. When we plan on our plan never going according to plan we humbly submit to an iterative process.
The power of a plan isn’t that it will be right. The power of a plan is that it’s a process that can be wrong and still adapt to make progress.