The illusion of control is proven and well-documented (but a good reminder is occasionally in order). It involves people’s psychological need to feel as though they have more control over an outcome than they actually have. This outcome is supported by how the mind works – i.e. our memories become a logical flow of events with causes and effects that in reality, may be completely unrelated and arbitrary. In essence, our minds create a story.
So what does this have to do with life and business? Quite a bit. Someone important – I forget who and I’m too lazy to Google it – said that even the most practical-minded businesspeople are actually slaves to one dead economist or another. And so it is with planning, except substituting “mental bias” for “economist.” A little illusion of control with a pinch of choice-supportive bias (remembering our choices as being better than they were), and we’re baking, folks!
Our dedication to the planning phase rather than agile execution of an emerging plan is more a product of how the mind works than actual results.