Why don’t we just call plans what they really are: guesses. Unless you’re a fortune teller, long-term business planning is a fantasy. There are just too many factors that are out of your hands: market conditions, competitors, customers, the economy, etc. Writing a plan makes you feel in control of things you can’t actually control.
In fact, you might as well change the name of your business plans to business guesses, your financial plans to financial guesses, and your strategic planning to strategic guesses. Do that and you’ll probably start putting a lot less weight into those things.
That thought inspired by a pair of academics, Ian MacMillen and Rita Gunther McGrath, who amongst other things say, “It’s not failure that companies need to avoid, but rather failing expensively.” Failure is good. It’s learning. More importantly it’s not planning, it’s doing.