“If” for Planning Section Chiefs

A re-interpretations of Rudyard Kipling’s masterpiece “If”, with focus on All-Hazards Planning Section Chiefs. I love Kipling’s original and have it framed on my home office wall. Putting my interpretation on Kipling’s work is fun and helps me share some real world insight at the same time.

Listen here

“If” for Planning Section Chiefs

If you can guide the team through the process
While all about you are unsure what to do,
If you believe in the method when others want to go askew,
But adapt and adjust to help them through;
If you can facilitate the discussion but not jump in,
Or try to dictate tactics, because you are not Operations,
Or fill out forms before objectives are complete,
And do all this through objective eyes:

If you can plan – but not make the documents your master;
If you can help – but not have to be in charge;
If you can prepare contingencies for the worst disaster
And be ready if the worst comes to bear;
If you can check folks in and account for them all
But not depend on pre-printed rosters,
Or be ready at the last minute to change the plan,
And start again tomorrow in a brand new cycle:

If you can empower your Unit Leaders
And let them lead somewhat hands off,
And fail, and have the crucial conversations
And take ownership because you are the boss;
If you can push yourself through late-night printings
To prepare a finished product when all are asleep,
And lean on your Section when you’ve almost nothing left
Except the resolve in you that says: “We must!”

If you can brief the crowds and speak with confidence,
Or talk to Mayors – but not talk too much,
If neither naysayers no armchair planners can upset you,
If your Units can rely on you, but not depend too much;
If you can work through the critical incident
With poise and confidence and trust,
Yours is to help the special event or disaster,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Plans Chief, my friend!

Related and Relevant References

Stay safe, wash your hands and Godspeed,


Kevin Pannell, PMP, Creator & Host, ‘People, Process, Progress’ podcast
– Build the foundation at https://kevtalkspod.com/build-the-foundation
– Please leave a review on Apple Podcasts and subscribe below to the podcast and YouTube channel.

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