Oxymoron or Smart Strategy: Planning for Spontaneity

I don’t use the word oxymoron every day, and that’s probably a good thing! While the concept of planning to be spontaneous sounds a bit odd, let’s see how these two concepts might work together in your business.

You know where you want your business to go. You know where you want to be in three years, five years, and beyond. And yet, you’ve got no plan. This raises many questions, including:

Mapping out your approach can pay off in a number of ways for your company

Mapping out your approach pays off for your company

  1. How will you know which tactics have been successful, or not-so successful?
  2. How will you know what to repeat, what to tweak, and what to promise NEVER to do again?
  3. And, of course, what was the ROI?
  4. One of the questions I always ask, though, is How will you know when to do the sweet happy dance of success?

All of these questions also lead to another valuable question to ask yourself: What did you miss out on because you didn’t have a plan?

If you’ve got a plan – well, you actually need a number of plans: business plan, marketing plan, fundraising plan, event plan, etc. – AND you’re working the plan(s), and an unexpected opportunity knocks on your door, no problem – you assess your current situation and decide whether or not this opportunity is worth pursuing.

If you’ve got no plan, it’s really hard to determine whether this “opportunity” is actually (1) a worthwhile opportunity for you to pursue, or (2) just one more distraction that will help you continue to spin your wheels without moving forward.

Make a plan. Work the plan. Celebrate your results.

About Deb

Deb Nelson, principal of deb nelson consulting, is a creative storyteller. She designs and implements communication plans that leverage strategic partnerships and provide innovative solutions for her clients. You can find her on twitter at @nelliedeb.


  1. Love it! I think having a plan underpins success. If you don’t have a road map, how will you know where you’re going or even if you’ve got there?!

    As a Life Coach, like yourself Deb, I ask similar pertinent questions, how will you know when you’ve got there. What will it look like, smell like, feel like and I love your addition of celebrating when you get there!

    Your four questions will serve as a great road map to help others reach their desired destination. Thank you for bringing the topic of planning to the forefront to plan for a better future!
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  2. Deb!
    It is so true that new supposed “opportunities” are not always good for business. In fact, you can stay stuck considering all the thousands of biz opps out there, without ever getting anywhere.
    You make a great point, it is so true that a PLAN is everything in business.
    Thank you for this right-on advice!
    Best 🙂
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    • Thanks for weighing in on this Renee – With so many shiny objects vying for our attention, it’s easy to get distracted. AND as you point out, with so many options, we can be paralyzed with the volume of choices, spiraling into a world of hurt. The plan is a living document that can really help us make the distinction between an opportunity and distraction.
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  3. Love! If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. As a business, executive, and financial coach, I approach time management from a purpose or mission perspective. In addition to the great questions you have shared here, I also ask my clients to determine if the new opportunity is aligned with their mission or vision. If not, say no. If yes, then determine if you have the bandwidth to incorporate it into your plan. I think planning for spontaneity is really about becoming a better decision maker.
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    • Great point, Niquenya – Mission creep is dangerous! If you’re not careful, before you know it you can be involved with projects that have absolutely nothing to do with your business (much easier to do than we’d like to think!!). It takes discipline to stay on track and a good plan helps tremendously.
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  4. One of the things I’ve learned on my life journey is to “say yes to life”. Say yes to opportunities that resonate at a deep core level. To get out of my analytical brain that weighs and compartmentalizes, deciding if something fits or doesn’t, and to go forward towards something that is coming towards me.

    I believe in my younger years, either my fears or maybe my resistance stopped me, as I thought I knew the right answers for me. As it turns out, learning to trust my inner voice (not the one in my head) has led me to some unimaginable experiences my younger self may not have had. And yes, I do get the value of a plan, however, I’ve also learned that flexibility and honouring the unexpected, also contributes to creating a life of rich rewards far beyond our wildest expectations. Taking action on something that speaks to you is now first on my list! Thanks for stirring up the conversation with this Deb!
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  5. Never one for formal plans but alas, my coach required one. Together we created it and little by little I see the value in having it. I even now work with an editorial calendar. I do believe it is the creative side that likes keeping options open.

  6. Hi Deb 🙂
    Enjoyed your post! Without a plan or a smart strategy it is definately difficult to reach any of your goals especially in business. Thank you for sharing these valuable tips 🙂
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