Recently I have come across a few firms that were busily creating their shiny new 5 Year Strategic Plan. Having done strategic plan consulting in the 90′s, I am familiar with the theory behind this and some of the processes used. So, one of the first things I want to clean the slate on in the new year is the whole concept of the 5 Year Strategic Plan.
Let us lay it to rest.
The purpose of the 5 Year Strategic Plan is to see and plan for the future.
That’s all well and good.
However, who can accurately predict where their company will be in 5 years in the face of the exponential growth patterns of change and complexity we now face?
There are futurists out there making a good living doing all kinds of scenario planning based on multiple possible futures. If we are really serious about thriving in change, it’s time to re-direct our energy to strategies based on real time adaptive capabilities. The nub of the problem with the 5 Year Strategic Plan is that we cannot possibly see and plan that far out in one comprehensive plan.
So, if you are thinking of hiring a good consultant to help you with your 5 Year Strategic Plan, save your money.
Invest instead in equipping your leaders to be able to run their organization like riding a bike.
In order to ride a bike you do the following:
1. You pack what you think (best guess) you will need for your bike ride.
2. You know your destination – or at least what you want to see when you get there.
3. You start pedaling in that direction.
4. Most important…You have a short window of time to make a decision on how to successfully navigate what comes in front of you. Especially the surprises. And surprises are one thing we can count on in ever increasing number. Whether it is a child running in front of your bike, or a turn in the road that you didn’t expect, or an oncoming biker. Only at the time when you see the actual change can you make the best decision as to how to navigate your bike.
Let us learn what we can about the future (and pack our bags well). And, if your rider – manager or executive, has the awareness and skills necessary to be able to make those quick navigation decisions with agility and flexibility, your company will wind up at its destination… no matter what changes and surprises happen along the way. To do this, managers and execs need to hone their visionary and leadership skills.
Now that’s something I can help you with.