THURSDAY THOUGHTS! - Why do plans fail?

Posted by | January 05, 2012 | Thursday Thoughts | No Comments

Plans – why do they fail?


Ok, well Thursday Thoughts! is proving to be a very popular topic so far – thanks to everyone who’s contributed and I hope you continue to do so 🙂  By all means, if you have a burning question yourself, submit it and I’ll use for future Thursday Thoughts! topics.

So this week, lets have a very Black Hat sort of question:

Plans – why do they fail?

In our professional lives, we’ve all be subject to an array of plans.  Some we’ve thought were good, some we’ve thought were downright bonkers! But nevertheless, we’ve all been in positions of having to “sell” and “deliver” such plans.  Using the most powerful tool available to us – hindsight – why do you think some plans you’ve been involved in, have failed?

Answers, as always, via comments below please.  Happy reflections to you all, I can’t wait to hear what you think.

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Sharon Davidson
Organisational development professional specialising in personal, team and whole organisation improvement. Full range of OD tools and techniques available including: Belbin team role analysis; learning style inventories; 360 degree feedback; cultural assessments; personality psychometrics; strategic planning and workshop facilitation. (This list is not exhaustive!)

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  • Aresko says:

    In my experience, the reason why some plans fail is mainly due to a combination of:
    – poor communication;
    – unclear roles and responsibilities; and
    – inappropriate leadership.

    Thats a rather rounded white hat answer which looks at facts, data and calls for further information. Types of white hat answers will include (or lead to) who, what, where, when, why, how sorts of responses.

    White hat thinkers are great team members as they require answers to these sorts of questions so all bases will be covered in an effort to accommodate them.

  • Peggy Edwards says:

    Many of the plans I see fail or struggle towards the end are due to unrealistic time scales, either self imposed or externally imposed by others. People think you can achieve far more than you actually can.

  • Aresko says:

    Nicely self-contained white hat answer Peggy. I have seen this happening. Timescales (the “when” criteria) are negotiable, usually by leaders. Or subject to wider communication issues. But yes, you can’t design out all these things.

  • Rachel says:

    Too many cooks and too long spent ‘discussing’ without direction or closure – some of this is essential but it is often far too easy to let barriers creep in and time slip by if this is not managed appropriately. You need the right people to discuss the right things at the right time and make decisions that move things forward.

  • Aresko says:

    Hi Rachel, lots of black hat judging there with logic applied to identifying flaws or barriers and highly evaluative. Black hat thinking is often the most powerful and useful in any team situation but it has to be carefully managed or can often come across as dominant to the other thinking processes. Funnily enough, black hats very, very often use food or wine as analogies and you produced an immediate smile on my face with the “too many cooks” right up front 🙂

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