Plans are Crap, but Planning is Golden


Hardly ever anything goes according to plan. No wonder than that many people stop planning altogether. But without a clear sense of direction we feel lost, our actions become meaningless, and we tend to run in circles around familiar places. We need to imagine a bright future in order to be willing to do bold and courageous steps. But once we incept a dream, we usually prefer the dream over reality and we find it very hard to separate ourselves from the dream once the reality kicks in. The two approaches to planning that are successful at guiding our actions without making us too emotionally attached to the plan itself are "imagine the impossible" and a "shotgun approach". The "imagine the impossible" approach enables us to rationalize our actions without compromising our dream about the final outcome, since many different actions that we undertake can be thought of as being on the path towards our (impossible) goal. The "shotgun approach" uses a similar underlying psychological tool, but instead of a single distant goal defines the whole range of potential positive outcomes. The trick of both approaches is to choose the right scope. If we plan too far/broadly we loose the guiding power of the plan, while if we plan too short/narrow we become limited in our options.

The title of this post is a quote by our investor Fred Wilson.