Monday, 3 October 2016

Best laid plans of mice and men!!!


Today I have been reminded not only of the this old saying, but also of the similarly intentioned one by Field Marshall Helmuth Graf von Moltke - The Elder - that goes: ‘no campaign plan survives first contact with the enemy’.

On this day the National Health Service had conspired to influence as many members of my immediate family as it could; my elderly parent (96 years old) was due at the local Dentist for 9:30am, my wife due at Oxford Eye Hospital slightly later in the morning and my daughter at Amersham Hospital for 11:30am. Plus I had a pre-booked facilitation of a meeting with a leadership team for 12:30pm!

A strategy was needed so it was arranged for my father-in-law to take my wife while our daughter would use public transport, sadly alone as her boyfriend had to return to Australia late the night before as his Vise was due to expire, and I would take said elderly parent to the Dentist – all nicely sorted.

I arrived in plenty of time at the Care home, made sure my father was suitably dressed, sourced a wheelchair and we had loaded and finished strapping this into the minibus when a staff member came running out and informed us that the Dentists had rung and his appointment was cancelled.

By this time my wife had already left with her father and my daughter was on the train, proof were it needed that, first contact can indeed blow the plan completely apart!

However it has underlined to me that the important element of a plan, or a strategy, is to build in flexibility and the ability to react to changes in circumstances, to rigidly adhere to a plan, just because it was the original one, is not always the best policy – far better to continuously review, adapt and make appropriate changes.

Consider then what you are doing in your business that is sticking to an original plan that was drawn up before it was deployed in anger and where could this be appropriately altered to bring about an improved outcome for all the stakeholders involved in the activity!

Thank you for reading and please leave any feedback that you wish to share.