Chapter 9Creating a Plan

Without knowing where you want to go, it’s impossible to know where you’ll end up. However, it’s important to remember that a plan is just a plan. Paraphrasing one of the world’s greatest military strategists, Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, “No plan survives beyond first contact.” Spending months of effort and millions of dollars on internal costs and consultants to develop the “perfect” strategy is an instant recipe for disaster.


The best approach is to start and finish with a vision. From there, learn by doing, not by theorizing. Large-scale change is both risky and uncertain, especially when it comes to culture. Without the ability to point to clear successes on the way, even the best attempts to create a new culture will fail. Because of this, business analytics and innovation from big data are best supported through continual incremental returns rather than all-encompassing programs of work. Success comes from building plans that involve shorter time to return, plans that rely heavily on experimentation and continual feedback, and plans that emphasize delivery over creativity. Always keep in mind that the most innovative solutions in the world are worthless if they can’t be commercialized.

Successful leadership requires three things:

  1. Knowing where you’re going
  2. Bringing everyone with you
  3. Making others equally responsible for the journey

It’s essential to remember that business analytics is a team sport focused on cultural ...

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