Changing Conditions

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Everything around us changes, but perhaps nothing more than the weather. As we have got underway at Hullabalook we have spent considerable time planning, and yet knowing that we are planning often with very limited information, and therefore the plans will at some level be ‘wrong’ and we will need to change them quickly. Yet the process of thinking through what we want to do and what might affect it is very useful in itself. It was put best by Eisenhower:

Plans Are Useless, But Planning Is Indispensable
— General Dwight David Eisenhower

I often find it useful to think about parallels between work, and other parts of life to see whether tricks which I have learned elsewhere could be transferred to a business situation I am now in, in this context I remember sitting at school learning to plan hiking expeditions for my ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ award – we were taught about the importance of always knowing when we would switch to taking an ‘bad weather route’ which would get us to the same destination but along a lower or less exposed route, we had to consider what the route would be, and what the last moment when we could switch would be. This has proved to be a great life lesson, which I have applied to any number of adventure sports, from skiing to sailing. Most of the planning time must be put into the main plan for the day to have the best chance of getting to the intended destination – a bit of time put in to thinking about minor alterations which might serve you better depending on the weather – but still get you to the same destination (just with a bit more comfort than the original route), and then some time on being aware of alternative destinations so that if it becomes clear you can’t safely reach you planned destination you get somewhere ‘good’ and can try again tomorrow. There seems to be a good deal of parallels between these tactics for a great day in the outdoors and the basis for planning in a startup.

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