The D-Day Invasion And Large-Scale Litigation- Taking Lessons On Planning From Eisenhower And Patton

by Larry Carson

June 6, 1944


Nothing could have been more dependent on planning than the D-Day Invasion.


While Eisenhower valued the activities involved in planning more than the plans themselves:


 Plans are worthless, but planning is everything


Patton just wanted to get moving:


A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week


Whether the plan called for sending Patton to England to direct a deception operation or dispatching frogmen to the Normandy beaches to gather sand samples, the invasion was planned down to the very last detail.




We’ve all started hearing about the new processes of the day; six sigma, legal project management, critical path analysis, process management, project management, lean project management, etc. But no matter what the concept is called, and no matter how amazing the results translate to the overall success of the matter, all these processes are dependent on three things: creating a plan, crafting a protocol and executing.


According to Seth Godwin:


Every complicated project is the same. And yet most organizations focus on shiny objectives or contentious discussions or get sidetracked by emergencies instead of honoring the critical path (the longest string of dependent, non-compressible tasks). Delaying the critical path by one hour at the beginning of the project is the very same thing as delaying the entire project by an hour at the very end.


But in the case of fact investigations and large-scale litigation, the delays can extend way beyond one hour and in fact into weeks, months and sometimes years and by then it’s often too late. Witnesses are gone, documents are missing, social media has been deleted, or evidence has been destroyed. The very information that could have bolstered the defense is gone for good because there was no sense of urgency,  no protocol, no standard official procedure or system of rules in place to prioritize the fact investigation in order to ensure that the critical path would be honored.


The solution begins with planning….


Immediately identify the critical time-sensitive elements that will aid in gauging the risk exposure in order to create an early picture of: who sued me? This includes social media, public records, witnesses and evidence as a general rule, with added tasks tailored specifically for the particular defense regarding alternative causation, historical research, family history and credibility.


Then moves to the protocol…


Without a clear definition of what is involved, who will do it and when, and who is privy to the information obtained, the entire goal of obtaining timely and accurate information gets bogged down in the process, and oftentimes the defense is in fact put on the defense.


Standardizing an official procedure regarding what to do, who’s doing it, how and when  it will be delivered, and at what cost, is the objective.


And ends with execution….


And, speaking of Patton following his death in 1945, Eisenhower provided us with a vivid definition of execution in action:


He was one of those men born to be a soldier, an ideal combat leader whose gallantry and dramatic personality inspired all he commanded to great deeds of valor. His presence gave me the certainty that theboldest planwould be even moredaringly executed


The boldest plan daringly executed. Eisenhower and Patton on what it takes to win a war.

Larry Carson

Larry is the founder, CEO and President of Smith & Carson. In addition to being responsible for overall company strategy and operations, Larry conducts and directs mass tort, pharmaceutical and consumer products investigations on a national scale. He also has extensive experience handling volatile high-profile matters involving fraud, bribery, whistle-blower, white-collar crime and other charges of misbehavior. Larry is a graduate of Louisiana State University and attended Woodrow Wilson Law School. He has earned a Six Sigma Green Belt and is licensed as a private investigator in ten states.