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Extreme Measures — When No Plan Is the Best Plan

Digital Library > Building and Inspiring an Organization > Planning, general “Extreme Measures — When No Plan Is the Best Plan”

In preparation for an extended sailing trip, business owner Tom Richman meticulously plotted charts, outlining an ambitious schedule of times, ports and dates.

"With firm control — that’s how I ran my professional life. Not surprisingly, that’s how I would run my cruise," Richman says.

But winds repeatedly blew him off course. Instead of having fun, Richman fought a battle of wills.

Then he conceded to Mother Nature and realized certain factors were simply out of his control. "Finally, I made the best decision of the trip: I decided to scrap the plan," says Richman. "Instead of sailing as far as the plan said we would, we sailed as far as we could."

This shift in attitude altered his experience for the better; Richman discovered serendipitous sights, such as a monastery built on a rocky hill or a group of antique wooden boats.

"The plan, with its fixed goals and firm dates, assumed a level of control I could never have achieved," says Richman. "An eye too fixed on a plan can miss unplanned-for opportunities."

Source: Inc magazine, August 2002

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