Plan in Pencil!


Before he was President of the United States of America, Dwight D. [Ike] Eisenhower was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe. As the Commanding General, Eisenhower was responsible for the planning and execution of the largest military event of all time. The allied invasion, by sea and air, of Hitler’s occupied Europe.


Imagine the planning and logistics involved in such a task. The ships, the planes, the men, the fuel, the tanks, the jeeps, the food, the ammunition, the hot water, the soap, the razor blades, the shoes, the tires, the tents, on and on and on. It boggles the mind.


One pithy, and very valuable, lesson Eisenhower passed on to those of us who need to plan and carry out those plans, on any level, is his famous quote that I call up in almost ever one of my mediations. “Plans are nothing, planning is everything”. There is great wisdom in that simple phrase.


In other words, like every military leader, Ike knew that no plan survives intact its first contact with the enemy. The key to success is not to be blindly tied to any one plan, but to maintain flexibility in your thoughts and in your actions. The most valuable element of any plan is the time, thought and effort that went into conceiving and putting the plan down on paper, not the plan itself. It is the acquired skills of planning that will carry you through difficult times when your best laid plans collapse. Those skills will allow you to accommodate unforeseen circumstance and unconsidered variables and quickly formulate a new plan. And when that plan needs to be modified, because things happen, and they always do, you will again be well served by your investment in learning planning strategy.


This is as true for creating a viable child custody and visitation plan during a marital dissolution [or as we at Liaise® prefer, a “Marital Reorganization”] as it is for building a bridge, or attacking an enemy stronghold in wartime.


Treat your plans as what they should be, disposable. Any plan is only your best efforts at strategy and tactics for the circumstances as you currently understand them. Try to build in flexibility for that which is unforeseen. If you are inflexible in your plans, you are preparing for failure. If you recognize that all plans are circumscribed by the limited knowledge at hand, you will be better able to go with the flow, roll with the punches and quickly implement Plan “B”, whatever that plan may be at that time.


© Liaise® Mediated Solutions, LLC 2009

                        author

David D. Stein

David D. Stein has been an attorney for over 20 years and is the founder of Liaise© Mediated Solutions.  He is a trained mediator, dispute resolution specialist and lecturer on non-violent conflict management techniques and tools. MORE >

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