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My Favorite Quotes About Planning (and what they mean to me)

WE'RE ON THE CUSP OF THE NEW YEAR, A TIME WHEN I try to use the next few days to do some reflection and personal mission review and goal setting. Sounds very serious, but I assure you that it's not so much that as it is reinvigorating. Taking a bit of reflective time puts me back in touch with some basic ideas that are foundational to my work and to my outlook on life.

I thought I'd begin the process this time around by sharing some quotes with you that have particular meaning for me:

Eleanor Roosevelt: It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan. When I first came across this quote, I wrote it right down. It clicked with me, because I've worked with so many organizations whose dreams seemed to far exceed their capacities to fulfill them. Or one person has big, vocal dreams, while everybody else is either not yet in dream mode or is completely clueless. No matter whose dream or how big, without an articulated plan to achieve it, it almost certainly will remain just out of reach. An organization needs both, so why not do both?

Immanuel Kant: The best way to predict the future is to invent it. This is the quote that pops into my head every time I hear folks talk about all the stuff they believe is out of their organization's control -- "our city doesn't recognize the good things we do for it's image", "other organizations won't collaborate with us", "we're destined to second class status because we're a nonprofit", "we'll never achieve the operating budget we really need". Just because you're a nonprofit doesn't mean that you're not steering your own ship. You can consciously shape an organization's future with wishes supported by plans and actions.

Peter Drucker: Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work. I love this quote because it exposes an unvarnished truth: no amount of planning will achieve a desired future unless you're willing to work for it. There are so many nonprofits that go through a planning process just to get that sheaf of paper they can wave in front of funders, but they have no idea how to work that plan to reality (or no intention of doing so). Plans need to include fairly detailed and timeframed implementation steps that begin immediately.

Brian Tracy (motivational coach and author): A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power. This is the payoff! And what a feeling it is to be steering your organization's future rather than drifting along, susceptible to the whims and schemes of others.

Happy New Year and Happy Planning!

Photo: Yeah Happy New Year...Now Who's...from Expatriate Games


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