Mark Blasini


The problem with most plans


There is a reason why most New Year's resolutions fail. It's the same reason why most goals that people have (losing weight, getting fit, saving money, quitting smoking, etc.) are not reached, and why most businesses fail.

The reason is simple. In setting goals and making plans, most people do not incorporate resistance or failure into their plans. They make projections for how something will be achieved, how profits will increase, how markets will be reached. They think that if they just follow the steps in the plan, that things will work out.

The problem is that they don't understand thatany time one tries to change something, resistance is created. And the more one tries to reinforce this change, the more resistance is created. This is because every change brings to it uncertainty, and uncertainty always brings with it some sort of risk.

Changing one's diet or quitting smoking brings the risk of pain or suffering or losing out. A business - with a new product or service - brings to prospective customers a risk of regret, of feeling that they might be wasting their money or attention.

For most people, plans are simply steps that, if achieved, will bring one closer to achieving one's goals. In other words, plans aren't typically designed to anticipate and manage resistance or obstacles or opposition. Rather, they project an idealized version of what can happen.

But anytime you want to make a change - especially an important change - you can expect to find resistance. You can expect to find opposition or obstacles. There will always be plenty of reasons to go back to how things were, if only because the way things were are at least less uncertain.

The solution, therefore, is not to create a more elaborate plan, but to incorporate resistance, obstacles, opposition, failure into your plan. For every plan you create, you have to ask yourself:

The essence of a strong, strategic plan is not in how elaborate or detailed it is in bringing about success, but in how detailed and elaborate it is in protecting against failure.

It is in protecting against failure and resistance that success actually becomes feasible.