– Thoughts on Strategy and Management

Bad plans

According to a definition, a strategic plan is a plan (=a detailed proposal for achieving or doing something) that provides argument and the data in support of a strategy (= long term direction of an organization) for the entire organization. A plan should clearly explain what the organization wants to accomplish in the coming years. These definitions sound very logic; hence we have to raise the question why some plans can be described as “bad / poor” plans which “need” to fail. Or to be more specific, what are the conditions that allow bad plans to exist?

There will be lot answers; however I would like to quote a participant from my seminars in a company workshop who presented me the following funny answer (it was a one-page text) in the training break:

The plan

In the beginning was the Plan.
And then came the assumptions.
And the assumptions were without form.
And the Plan was without substance.
And darkness was upon the face of the workers.
And they spoke amongst themselves, saying:
“It is a crock of shit, and it stinketh.”

And the workers went unto their supervisors and said:
“It is a pail of dung, and none may abide the odor thereof.”

And the supervisors went unto their managers, saying:
“It is a container of excrement, and it is very strong, such that none may abide by it.”

And the managers went unto their Directors, saying:
“It is a vessel of fertilizer, and none may abide its strength.”

And the directors spoke amongst themselves, saying to one another:
“It contains that which aids plant growth, and it is very powerful.”

And the Vice Presidents went unto the President, saying unto him:
“This new plan will actively promote the growth and vigor of the company and in these areas in particular with powerful effects.”

And the President looked upon the Plan, and saw that it was good.
And the Plan became policy.

This is how “shit happens” (or bad plans come into corporate practice).


What do you think? Did you observe bad plans in your organization?

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