In business failure to plan and failure to execute can have catastrophic consequences. In a business environment driven (for public companies) by quarterly expectations, longer term planning has fallen from favor in many, perhaps most, large companies. No time to plan. No budget for planning. We're too busy making our numbers to plan. We're too busy selling. Can't afford to bring the management team off site for 2 or 3 days. Nobody cares about plans.
Someone else (I think), said, "Each day of planning will save two days of execution." I can't prove it, but I strongly believe it.
A failure to plan and execute as in the case of Katrina will have myriad political consequences in addition to human and economic consequences. On Friday (9/2), a portion of The NewsHour was devoted to a conversation among David Brooks, Tom Oliphant, and Clarence Page that addressed the possible political consequences of the many failures regarding the responses to Katrina. The video, audio, and transcript are here. Brooks was particularly eloquent. Here's a snippet:
DAVID BROOKS: This is -- first of all it is a national humiliation to see bodies floating in a river for five days in a major American city. But second, you have to remember, this was really a de-legitimization of institutions.
Our institutions completely failed us and it is not as if it is the first in the past three years -- this follows Abu Ghraib, the failure of planning in Iraq, the intelligence failures, the corporate scandals, the media scandals.
We have had over the past four or five years a whole series of scandals that soured the public mood. You've seen a rise in feeling the country is headed in the wrong direction.
And I think this is the biggest one and the bursting one, and I must say personally it is the one that really says hey, it feels like the 70s now where you really have a loss of faith in institutions. Let's get out of this mess. And I really think this is so important as a cultural moment, like the blackouts of 1977, just people are sick of it.