To borrow from the old maxim, businesses don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan. That’s why, when I hear that a team or team mate is “so busy they have no time to plan”, I get this twisting sensation in my medulla oblongata. It renders me temporarily apoplectic until someone interrupts with common sense and I fall back into normal brain function.

Still, however nonsensical the “too busy to plan” argument may be, the weight of a workload can often send a worker, a team or an entire organization scrambling to throw labor at that workload. It’s happened before, and this piece won’t ensure against it happening again.

But a wise advisor once told me, when you’re busy, that’s the time to take on more work. When you’re selling, that’s the time to sell harder, and when you’re planning that’s the time to plan better. It seemed overly simplistic way back when, but in retrospect, he communicated a great deal more than a maxim. It was mindset.

In the simplest terms, whatever steps lead to success do not become less necessary because one’s workload increases. In fact, the components necessary for success become even more critical. They must be more fully implemented and further refined to ensure against disaster.

To take the “I’m too busy to plan” argument to its illogical extension; imagine a homebuilder telling a developer that because the complex is now 100 homes large instead of a single home, that they can’t deliver floor plans, project plans, etc for the development. Instead, they’re just going to start working based on what they know. But the great news is, they have lots of experience so it’ll be ok. They promise. How far do you think that discussion would carry?

So the moral to this short story is that some old maxims hold true. Businesses never plan to fail, but the failure to plan is every bit as effective as planning to fail.
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