Planning & Why Plan?

I really wanted to put together an eye-catching costume for Halloween this year, but I didn't make the deadline. On October 31st I ended up limply draped in a half-hearted, last-minute amalgam of odds and ends cobbled together from whatever happened to be randomly lying around the house. It could have been so much better.
Instead, my celebration of All Hallow's Eve was spent kicking myself for my lack of . . . something. Not foresight, because I started thinking about it a month early. Not commitment, because for the first time in several years I actually wanted to dress up. I mean, it's just a lousy costume, how complicated can it be? Come up with an idea, get the materials, make it. My schedule got a little complicated as calendar pages passed, but why couldn't I pull it all together?


Next time will be diffrent!
"It could have been so much better." I've heard organization staffs say the same thing; but, instead of referring to a Halloween costume, they were talking about a half-successful season, or promotional campaign, or collaborations with another organization. For them, however, the consequences of these fizzled projects ranged from inconvenience to bankruptcy, however.
What linked us all was a lack of planning. These organizations had not conducted any meaningful planning.
Why didn't we plan? In my case, because I am a natural slacker. And the organizations? Because--pick one:
Planning is anal. Plans are for businesses. Plans are straitjackets. Plans are just stacks of paper that sit on a shelf and are never used. Plans are out of date as soon as you dot their last 'i'. Plans give the board a weapon to use against staff. Plans give staff a weapon to use against the board. Plans are just busywork for consultants. Plans for arts organizations are like discussing neurophysiology while you're looking at a rainbow. Plans are just transcripts of the executive director/board chairs/artistic director talking to him/herself. Plans are just written for funders.
So much misunderstanding, so little time.