The Times has an interesting interview with Wendy Koop, founder of Teach for America. While the whole thing is worth a read, her point about planning (or the lack thereof) really made me nod along:
At one point, I also had this revelation that we were no longer going to go through all this development of strategic plans. We would go through this massive process of creating these endless strategic plans and reviewing them. And I don’t know how many years we did that until I said: “Forget it. We don’t even need to do this anymore. Let’s figure out our priorities and how we are going to measure our success. And then we’re going to let people run after those goals.” And that just freed up all the energy.
I have to admit I’ve been thinking about this lack-of-strategy strategy a lot lately. Sure you need some general direction to go in, but I’m less convinced it makes sense to spend a bunch of time and money constructing some sort of strategy on how to attack the problem. Rather, have a bunch of people run in different directions and measure, measure, measure. (As a side note, I often worry that the last part is left out. Without the feedback the strategy of just letting people go is pretty useless.)