“Strong opinions, lightly held”

Every once in a while Adliterate appears with a new column and it’s magic. Here’s a section from his Anxiety maketh the plannerI couldn’t agree more, but I’ve never seen it as a question of truth. For me it’s always been about smoothing out the creases: the creases that are the unfinished thought, the non-existing thinking or consideration, the missed opportunity to communicate clearly. I see those creases all the time and it makes me uneasy and anxious until they’ve been fixed.

And as for planners? I have long maintained that great planners are wracked with anxiety. It may annoy virtually everyone else but the truth is good planners are never entirely sure, unless and until they absolutely know something to be true. There is always a better insight, a more potent consumer behaviour, a clearer path to purchase, a more interesting strategy or better plan. Until there isn’t.
Anxiety about the rightness of an idea makes a planner keep searching for something better and stops them taking the easy path or making the obvious choice. Because, to be honest the greatest diseases of the planning community are laziness masquerading as certainty and dogmatism pretending to be clarity. Indeed the guiding philosophy of any planner worth their salt should be “strong opinions, lightly held”.