My great-grandmother, like most women in the early 1900s, had two sets of dishes. One was a plain set for everyday family meals, and the other was a very fancy set that she only brought out on special occasions. Each plate, cup, and saucer was decorated with a design of delicate pink roses, curled ivy, and a beautiful gold inlay that encircled the scalloped edges.
She left the set to my grandmother, who then passed it on to my mother, who quickly discovered that fine china with gold detail is no match for the power of a modern dishwasher. The inconvenience of hand-washing every single item (and the risk of chipping or breaking the dishes) was too great. So those heirloom dinner dishes were hidden away in a china cabinet and only emerged on rare occasions.
As a strategic risk expert, I believe many leaders treat their strategic plan like a set of fine china. They know their plan is important; they invest time and money to create it. The final plan is detailed, logical, and beautiful.