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The Importance of Flexibility in Planning

I'm a dad, husband, and Christian first. Second, I'm an educator & organizational development professional.

Plans are never perfect! When they don't go as planned, people are often disheartened or confused. But being flexible with your options is important in order to achieve your goals. Here's a short story that underscores the necessity for flexibility to gain more:

Two cannibals, a father and son, were elected by the tribe to go out and get something to eat. They walked deep into the jungle and waited by a path.

Before long, along came this little old man. The son said, "Oh dad, there's one."

"No," said the father. "There's not enough meat on that one to even feed the dogs. We'll just wait."

Well, a little while later, along came this really fat man. The son said, "Hey dad, he's plenty big enough."

"No," the father said. "We'd all die of a heart attack from the fat in that one. We'll just wait."

About an hour later, here comes this absolutely gorgeous woman. The son said, "Now there's nothing wrong with that one dad. Let's eat her."

"No," said the father. "We'll not eat her either."

"Why not?" asked the son.

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"Because, we're going to take her back alive and eat your mother."

Everyone loves a plan that goes without any hitches. But the truth of the matter is that in some way or another, plans get derailed and adjustments must be made. As pessimistic as it sounds, it is a reality that we have to face. Some would disagree but statistics and probability will back me up on this. Opportunities, some usually unexpected, present themselves and must be taken for better results. Suffice to say, activities are never always implemented as they were planned.

Plans provide us with the backbone of how we want things to be accomplished. Our flexibility on the other hand provides us the chance to modify it as it is needed. We often take so much time to create the perfect plan but no matter how we try to calculate everything that may come in our way, there are some things that we just can’t quantify. At times we take so much time hatching up the best plan, trying to hone it over and over again that we lose our sight on the objective. General George S. Patton, a well respect officer of the US armed forces once said that “I would rather have a good plan today than a perfect plan two weeks from now.”

What is essential is our deep understanding of our goals. The wind may blow our boat in different ways but it is up to us to stir towards the right way no matter from where the wind blows. Knowing the objective and keeping our focus on it will help us maneuver around obstacles no matter how daunting they may be. The objective is always above the plan.

Our flexibility and our openness will help us push forward closer to our goals if we truly commit ourselves to achieving it and not simply plan for it. Action, as they say “speaks louder than voice”. However, the right actions at the right time are the ones needed to get us closer and faster to our goals.


JP Carlos (author) from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on April 04, 2011:

I appreciate the kind words capncrunch. It's true, it's difficult most of the time. But it gets worse when you don't know how to handle it.

capncrunch from New Orleans on April 04, 2011:

Hello jpcmc,

Great Hub!!! I enjoy meeting people like yourself. It is not always easily done with all the craziness around, though. I enjoyed reading this aritcle. It is very practical. And man, is it useful!!

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