Quotations about   planning

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Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver (1935-2019) American poet
“The Summer Day,” New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1 (1992)
Added on 1-Nov-17 | Last updated 1-Nov-17
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Y2K was a real end-of-civilization problem. And the people who could deal with it treated it as such, working flat-out on disaster management for the last year-long countdown. With the result that the end-of-the-world scenario didn’t happen … causing everyone not directly involved to conclude that it was a false alarm.

Charles "Charlie" Stross (b. 1964) British writer
The Nightmare Stacks (2016)
Added on 10-Oct-17 | Last updated 10-Oct-17
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You must not change one thing, one pebble, one grain of sand, until you know what good and evil will follow on that act.

Ursula K. Le Guin (b. 1929) American writer
A Wizard of Earthsea, ch. 3 (1968)
Added on 6-Apr-17 | Last updated 6-Apr-17
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JONES: I’m going after that truck.

SALLAH: How?

JONES: I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go.

Lawrence Kasdan (b. 1949) American screenwriter, director, producer
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) [with George Lucas, Philip Kaufman]
Added on 12-Feb-16 | Last updated 12-Feb-16
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Ensure that both plan and dispositions are flexible — adaptable to circumstances. Your plan should foresee and provide for a next step in case of success or failure.

B. H. Liddell Hart (1895-1970) English soldier, military historian (Basil Henry Liddell Hart)
Strategy, ch. 20 (1954)
Added on 14-Jul-15 | Last updated 14-Jul-15
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Although men flatter themselves with their great actions, they are not so often the result of a great design as of chance.

François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French epigrammist, memoirist, noble
Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales [Maxims] (1665-1678)
Added on 6-Jul-15 | Last updated 6-Jul-15
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The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.

Dame Agatha Christie (1890-1976) English writer
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Jul-15 | Last updated 24-Jun-15
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What makes a plan capable of producing results is the commitment of key people to work on specific tasks.

Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005) Austrian-American business consultant
Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, ch. 8 (1977 ed.)
Added on 30-Jun-15 | Last updated 24-Jun-15
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ZOE: Cap’n’ll come up with a plan.
KAYLEE: Well, that’s good. Right?
ZOE: Possible you’re not recalling some of his previous plans.

Drew Z. Greenberg (contemp.) TV producer and writer
Firefly, 1×05 “Safe” (8 Nov 2002)
Added on 14-May-15 | Last updated 14-May-15
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One thing that’s good about procrastination is that you always have something planned for tomorrow.

G. B. Stern (1890-1973) British writer [Gladys Bronwyn Stern]
(Attributed)
Added on 27-Apr-15 | Last updated 27-Apr-15
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Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute.

G. B. Stern (1890-1973) British writer [Gladys Bronwyn Stern]
(Attributed)
Added on 13-Apr-15 | Last updated 13-Apr-15
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Recently I asked three corporate executives what decisions they had made in the last year that they would not have made were it not for their it not for their corporate plans. All had difficulty in identifying one such decision. Since each of their plans were marked “secret” or “confidential,” I asked them how their competitors might benefit from the possession of their plans. Each answered with embarrassment that their competitors would not benefit. Yet these executives were strong advocates of corporate planning.

Russell L. Ackoff (1919-2009) American organizational theorist, consultant, management scientist
“A Concept of Corporate Planning” (1969)
Added on 19-Feb-15 | Last updated 19-Feb-15
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Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) Scottish essayist, novelist, poet
(Spurious)
    (Source)

Frequently attributed to Stevenson, but not found in his works.
Added on 26-Jan-15 | Last updated 26-Jan-15
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There’s not a living human being who doesn’t need luck. You need luck every time you give a concert. You worry about weather and transportation. Trains and planes are sometimes late; taxis have been known to break down. Then, at the hall, you worry that a string might snap or the lights fail, or that a page-turner might flip over two pages at once.

Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987) Lithuanian-American violinist
(Unsourced)

Quoted on his official web page.
Added on 6-Jan-14 | Last updated 6-Jan-14
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The world moves into the future as a result of decisions, not as a result of plans. Plans are significant only insofar as they affect decisions.

Kenneth Ewart Boulding (1910-1993) American economist, educator, poet, philosopher
Toward a General Social Science, ch. 1 (1974)
Added on 9-Dec-13 | Last updated 9-Dec-13
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I tell this story to illustrate the truth of the statement I heard long ago in the Army: Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech, National Defense Executive Reserve Conference (14 Nov 1957)

Quoted in R. Nixon, Six Crises, "Krushchev" (1962) as "In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable." Sometimes paraphrased as "Plans are nothing; planning is everything."

Added on 3-Aug-10 | Last updated 25-Jun-15
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The tactical result of an engagement forms the base for new strategic decisions because victory or defeat in a battle changes the situation to such a degree that no human acumen is able to see beyond the first battle. In this sense one should understand Napoleon’s saying: “I have never had a plan of operations.” Therefore no plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force.

Helmuth von Moltke (1800-1891) Prussian soldier
“On Strategy” (1871)

Translated in Daniel J. Hughes, Harry Bell, Moltke on the Art of War: Selected Writings (1993).

Paraphrases / variants:

  • "No plan survives contact with the enemy."
  • "No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy."
Added on 15-Jan-10 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
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It is a bad plan that admits of no modification.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings], # 469
Added on 26-Jun-08 | Last updated 20-Feb-17
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