Making a plan is what people do to define the future.
The plan tells us what will happen when. That’s what it has been designed for.
Unfortunately, we’ve been going through a year a plan dumping.
So, why do we continue to see plans popping up?
One possible reason is, that everyone else does plan and seems to be happy with it. They invest a lot of time in the planning. In doing so they seek to understand the existing parameters impacting their work and to prepare against surprises through careful decisions. The planning establishes a sense of control. That is a sense of safety and competence. They’ve given themselves a view of the future and themselves in it. One they are proud of.
Another reason is, that people want to give themselves an idea of how the future could look like. They have a desire to create a change and want to have a tool that helps them to see if their idea can work out. They foresee challenges and want to prepare themselves as well as possible for the most probable ones. Having an idea as to how the future may unfold gives them a sense of preparedness when things turn out to be different.
Both approaches may be useful. There is nothing wrong with planning. It’s actually useful. Taking out a map before driving to a destination has always helped me be prepared for a trip, giving me key information for that journey. Things have shifted slightly since GPS has become a normality, easing it a bit on us to react to traffic and roadworks. However, they remain incapable of preventing external circumstances.
And that’s the key. The really important thing about planning is how people react to its unfolding. How do they deal with the difference between the experienced reality and how it should be according to plan. Does it create dissonance for them? One that they have to make sense out of? And if it is the case, how much guilt and shame will emerge out of that sense-making?