John Lilburne's journal about goals, planning and strategies.



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2242 L Wed 16 Jan 2002

This morning I read part of Surfing Your Horizons, by Michael Creagen, which is enthusiastic about planning. For example:

Why set goals?

Setting goals is your first step to a successful life. I remind you of a 1954 survey which concentrated on individuals graduating from Yale University. It was found that:

- only 3 per cent had definite written goals

- 10 per cent had a rough idea but had not written anything down; and

- 87 per cent had no idea of their goals.

Twenty years later, these Yale graduates were again interviewed. The 3 per cent who had written goals had not only achieved their goals but also made more money than all rest combined. (page 24)

A specific instruction is given: "Set daily, weekly, yearly and 20-year goals." (page 28).

Another book (from the Ringwood Library which I read the first chapter of today) is "The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning" by Henry Mintzberg, published in 1994. He seems to be looking at planning quite carefully, in a sceptical sort of way. Why have formal planning documents? An interesting suggestion is so that procedures are documented and can be made routine (page 22). "What Taylor accomplished in the factory, planning systems could now accomplish by extrapolation in the executive suite." (page 23). Here is another extract I found interesting on pages 24 - 25:

.... intentions that are fully realized can be called deliberate strategies. Those that are not realized at all can be called unrealized strategies ... few, if any, strategies can be purely deliberate, and few can be purely emergent. One suggests no learning, the other, no control. All real-world strategies need to mix these in some way -- to attempt to control without stopping the learning process.

Part of how I see this applying is the liturgy of the Catholic Church. The liturgical books, like the Roman Missal, provide the plan. The priests feel they are learning things and so should improve the liturgy by applying their learning. To the extent that they are using variations permitted by the liturgical laws they are correct to do this. Unfortunately many priests go too far, changing things they should not change.

Anyway, I think I have learnt a bit more about planning -- its importance and its limitations.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 16 January 2002.