The means or the end?

amplifi clarifi simplifi Mar 31, 2021

No plan ever survives its collision with reality.

We often coach well-intentioned leaders who are serial planners. Inevitably when we try to drive home the point that someone actually needs to do the work, we will start with a smile and the phrase no plan ever survives a collision with reality.

But we’re not going to say this anymore.

Because for the serial planner, it's simply not true.

The inertia that plagues many school districts and schools is all too often poorly masked by lofty, beautifully crafted, and jargon-filled plans and mission statements that aren’t affected by reality.

Many well-intentioned plans lose track of the very problem that is being solved and become the end and not the means.

The very best plans are malleable and adjust to the needs of the students, teachers, and community. Plans should be active documents and if they are printed, they should be dog-eared and wear their fingerprints and coffee stains proudly.

Many years ago, a well-traveled priest was presenting on a PD day and proudly showed us his Bible. It had stains from many Italian dinners and looked like it had been in and out of one too many carry-on bags.

This Bible was the priest's well-worn and impactful means.

Shouldn’t district and school three-year plans also be well-worn, filled with red ink and post-its, and not stare back at us safely unscathed from a website or wall?

No plan ever survives its collision with reality.


Far too many do, but no impactful, responsive, and empathetic plan ever completely survives its collision with reality.

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