Plans are Worthless

04 December 2014

This is traditionally the time of year when businesses complete their budget or financial plan for next year. Most businesses complete their plan, send their budgets to the Manufacturers and then put them into their accounting system ready for January. But are your plans any use, or are they just worthless?

Plans are Worthless

General Dwight D Eisenhower once said “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything”. The point is that the value of the plan is in the planning; in the understanding about what you need to do in order to deliver it. It is about knowing where you are going as a business, understanding the long, short and medium term objectives and ensuring that everybody in the business understands what they need to do to deliver them.

A plan gives you a set of objectives to work towards but as soon as you start the year, you will inevitably run into things you didn’t anticipate. Your plan should allow you the ability to change direction in the short term in order to ensure your medium and longer term objectives are still met whatever the blockages you encounter.

The planning process should begin with a strategic direction being set by the Directors. This should ideally be the result of some structured time out of the business during which the strategy should be discussed and agreed. This should then be cascaded to the operational team for them to turn this into the annual plan. The departmental managers are charged with delivering the profit plan and they need to work on what they are going to achieve and importantly HOW they are going to achieve it.

Each department needs to have a written action plan that sets out the activities that will be carried out to deliver the profit plan. This should embrace operations, people, marketing and investment.

Inevitably there will be challenges throughout the year, and tactical plans need to be put in place or changed to address these. The most obvious being the marketing plan which changes at least quarterly.

Without a written plan, Eisenhower’s statement that plans are worthless is much more likely to be proven correct.

Coachworks have the experience and expertise to enable companies to address the whole planning process from creating the strategic vision to implementing a departmental action plan.

Directors Retreat is a 2 day Planning Workshop for Business Leaders. It provides an environment for Directors to work on rather than in their business, and the result is the creation of a strategic plan.

Plan 4 Growth is a programme for all departments designed to ensure that each manager can identify how the financial plans will be achieved. Managers are led to be proactive; think like business leaders with full P&L responsibility; share best practice; and inspired to implement a comprehensive action plan designed to deliver the required result.

At this busy planning time, it is important to give your business the best chance of achieving the financial plan. For more information on Directors Retreat or Plan 4 Growth please contact Adrian Baker at

Back to News Stories