Your Plan Needs to Change, Big Time

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Running over the cliff

The issue is this: 98% of the relevant information we need to write a good plan is unknown at the time we write it.

The quote is from a blog called Staying for Tea by Aaron Ausland. I love his writing because it is sober and reflects his experiences helping folks in some tough places around the world. But is he right? Is this true what he says about plans?

As a former teacher let me just say one thing about teaching people: If you manage to follow your curriculum plan beyond September 4th of any given school year then you're a fraud. Yep. And I’m sticking to it. You're a fraud.

Aaron Ausland is right as rain. A good plan lacks 98% of relevant information. I might even go 99% on that. But how can this be?

It can be this way because plans are written by people. And people, well, they aren’t computers. Oh, I know, lots of people these days will tell you that, actually, we are computers. But be at peace, these people who understand computers don’t understand anthropology. Or should I say theanthropology.

Human beings write plans because we know we are flawed. This profound splinter of intuition nags at us and this nagging produces our need for a plan, for order, for direction. The plan is the antidote to the abiding feeling that we are failures. Do you think angels make plans? Or take Christ. Do you think he was working off a business plan to get into Jerusalem on that donkey?

Plans prove our fallen nature. And because this is true we shouldn’t take them so seriously. Sure, we need them (we are flawed after all), but they are going to change. And when they do that’s a good thing.

So how come it doesn’t feel so good when the plan goes off the rails?

I’d chalk that one up to pride. I mean, it was my plan. I made it. It was a really, really good plan, that came from my very own brain. There is good stuff in that brain and my plan is good stuff. Dammit.

In truth my plan is just that, my plan. It’s just in my head -- and my mind can't even see in 3D. Nope. My plan is going to need to change to work.

That’s why at FTF we know that people are better than plans, at least when they act humbly. Our work (if we do it right) makes us humble. In that sense it makes us ready to change our plans -- for the better.

Help FTF #stopaidstartpeople.

BlogJohn HeersComment