Like most other people I know my diet has changed since the lock-down began. There’s a definite emphasis on “comfort food” – perhaps more carb-heavy than normal, an increased choice of desserts and a definite nod towards the foods enjoyed in childhood (rice pudding hasn’t featured yet but it’s on the to-cook list).
The collective psychology of this is interesting: in a time of stress we gravitate towards certainty and things that make us feel better, even if they don’t necessarily make healthier in the long term.
It’s possible to get hung up on detail and precision when writing a business plan, a bit like writing a piece of classical music. In fact, business planning is more like writing music for jazz musicians: less detail and space to improvise.
The exciting mission and purpose need to be balanced against the dull stuff – and good planning is essential
Are you excited by your working life? Does every problem
seem like a solution waiting to happen? Do you spend most of the day in a state
of feverish anticipation about the next curveball that the world is going to
sling at you?
If the answer is “no, not often” then you have much in
common with 99.9% of people in organisations around the world: however much your
organisation has a great cause, a compelling purpose, whizzy products and funky
offices with great coffee on tap and a pinball machine in the basement, you
have to spend a large chunk of your day doing stuff that’s – when all’s said
and done – pretty boring.
In a large business the stuff that we might find a bit dull
can be allocated to people who don’t find it so: that’s why we have Finance, HR,
Procurement and so on. If you’re lucky, those departments will be full of
people who can eat a purchase ledger for breakfast without batting an eyelid
and will be happy to do so day in, day out.
We tend to think of plans as precise specifications like compositions, but writing for jazz musicians is a better analogy
I specialise in creating robust, implementable strategies
and plans for organisations going through times of change. Somewhere along the
line a plan gets delivered, whether it’s me writing it or my clients, but I
think there’s a bit of a misconception about the role of plans and to me it’s
best explained with an analogy.
We have a tendency to think of a plan as a precise
specification of what will happen, a bit like a musical composition. In western
classical music – at least for last 400 years or so – it’s been written down
precisely so that the musicians play exactly what the composer intended.