The Disease of Excessive Planning

The fourth Disease of Leadership is:

The disease of excessive planning and of functionalism.

This is found in those obsessed with planning everything down to the very last detail; creating tight budgets and strait-jacketed business plans. While acknowledging that planning is a good thing, too much of it can prevent wonderful things to occur spontaneously.

When a leader plans everything down to the last detail and believes that with perfect planning things will fall into place, he or she becomes an accountant or an office manager. Things need to be prepared well, but without ever falling into the temptation of trying to eliminate spontaneity and serendipity, which is always more flexible than any human planning. We contract this disease because it is easy and comfortable to settle in our own sedentary and unchanging ways.

Many people get a false sense of security from excessive planning. That’s because we mistakenly believe that control = security and planning makes us feel in control. In fact, action is what moves us toward security. Step one leads to step two and so on until we’ve reached our goal and faced those fears of the unknown.

Planning alone doesn’t automatically lead to action. It tends to clog us up with the “what abouts” and “what ifs”. What about this? And what if that? Stop excessively planning and take some massive action today! Security comes from facing your fears, not planning ways to avoid them.

You think you can plan out the next five years of your organization? Good luck. You’d be better advised to stick to principles and standards, not plans, and let creative adjustment do the rest.

Summing-up: Do you rely too much on plans and not enough on intuition and improvisation? If this is the case, then you are suffering from this disease of leadership.

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