I was talking to a business yesterday that stated 'you've got to make time for planning'.
I agree, planning seems to be one of the first things to disappear when the going gets tough (perhaps read that as chaotic).
However, I've had many people disagree with this statement, telling me about how they have a complete lack of time to complete any form of planning. They get quite upset about this point too, and you can understand why. Something has either gone wrong in the business, or the world has changed and the business is now in a bad position.
So, what option do you go with in this situation?
Option 1 - Get into action mode and start digging your way out of trouble.
Option 2 - Get into planning mode, be fast and effective at creating a workable plan, and then get into action mode.
I prefer option 2, but many people still go for option 1 and ignore the notion of planning.
Now, if you have experienced long laborious planning activities then I could appreciate why you may not want to explore the planning option. Planning does not have to be a long drawn out process, it can also be a fast way to align your team, come up with a logical way of working together and allow for a more efficient and effective way to deal with your situation.
And let's not forget the final point of an action plan, to update and improve the processes we use in our business so that the same panic doesn't happen again.
The last bit is the real trick to this of course, and again, something that people often miss out.
Author of 'Business Process Re-Engineering', a practical plan to improve business performance.