“Planning is Everything. The Plan is Nothing” …Dwight Eisenhower
(Attributed to General Dwight Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, Allied Forces World War II, stated as the invasion of Normandy was underway (D-Day) 1944.)
One of the stories says Eisenhower was asked about the significance of the time and place of the invasion…as troops and equipment headed ashore; destined to be a turning point of the war.
I have enjoyed forays into historical events and the exploration of whether they only have application at the time they happened. Or, do they have any ongoing application(s) for subsequent societies, for mankind in general. What could Eisenhower have been thinking? What insight did he actually share with this Stars & Stripes reporter?
When it comes to military figures of the Second World War, I have a declared bias for General George Patton… I was named after General Patton. That aside I have to give props ( that is “proper recognition” for those over 29 years and 364 days old.) to General Eisenhower.
Over the years Eisenhower was frequently asked about this utterance. His responses were pretty consistent in what we can learn from this seemingly contradictory phrase:
· The “planning process” includes the process of “anticipation”. It is the consideration of different scenarios that help us prepare for a variety of situations and outcomes.
· What if it’s a bad plan? If what is put forth is, in fact, a bad plan; then it is subject to failure regardless of how aggressively it is implemented. A “bad plan” driven by energy and effort will only be successful if “luck” reins.
· What if it is a good plan; poorly implemented? If you develop a “good” plan; but do a lousy, poor, or undisciplined job of implementing that plan, it is likely to fail…unless “luck” intervenes.
· A “good plan” requires a disciplined and aggressive implementation to be successful. Merely having a well-developed, good plan does not guarantee a successful outcome. A good plan still calls for constant monitoring and disciplined task execution.
That Eisenhower-guy understood strategic planning pretty darn well. He understood the BIG PICTURE perspective as well. It was. It is the quality and the implementation that counts.