What to do when your American counterpart obsesses about planning?

The US based counterpart with whom you deal  may tend to place more value on planning that you do, especially if you are based in India, China, the Mid East or in the Mediterranean  countries.

Because this is the way that “empires” think, ie, that the world can be controlled, there is only so much you can do. Here are a few tips when you notice obsession with planning:

1) If you want to make your US based counterpart aware that there are unknowns, it is best to suggest that “we plan for unknowns”.

2) Suggest to do “risk assessment” of the “soundness “ and “basic assumptions” of the plan.

3) If you think that the plan is overly rigid, suggest a contingency plan, based on different assumptions.

4) Try to allow the Americans to feel  they are in charge as much as possible; when ‘implementation’ deviates from the plan, try and position this  as part of the original plan, or as a “minor abberation” of an otherwise sound plan.

However, do not push your America based colleague too far away from planning, who lies at the heart of how empires think. Work within the system.

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3 thoughts on “What to do when your American counterpart obsesses about planning?

  1. do you think the Americans are so gullible that they will not read between the lines; your advice/approach feels a little bit manipulative.

  2. Grace,

    These are the tactics that I have observed which work.

    The US based folks often want to be assured that there is a framework of control around what has happened and is about to happen…….to avoid improvisation.
    Folks from other parts of the workld feel that improvisation is a far better way to “control” because it provides more leeway to deal with the unpredicable environment.

  3. I think that Mr. Shevat makes a good point. When I recieved management training many years ago I thought – oh, this is so transparent people won’t be more engaged by this – but it was very valid. To be assured in a way that is culturally familiar is simply speaking the language that the person understands.

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