Thursday, May 12, 2016

Scanning for blips on life’s radar screen

Dilbert once said that strategic planning was hallucinating about the future and then something different happens. 

His insight hit a nerve with corporations worldwide. Because the majority of them spend thousands of hours and millions of dollars on that very process. When the result is often an expensive, time consuming way to placate executive egos, preserve the illusion of productivity, pretend to be useful and mitigate fear about a future that can only be guessed at. 

Stanford actually published a fascinating essay on the life and death of strategic planning. Their researchers found that the classic approach to strategic planning, first adopted from the military world, was a reasonably good fit for much of the business world from the fifties through the eighties. But with the rise of high tech tools and increased globalization in the nineties, the world began to change. Rapidly. 

And now that the future is no longer reasonably predictable based on the past, the trusted, traditional approach to strategic planning is based on assumptions that no longer hold. 

The strategic plan is dead. 

It’s a sobering reminder that nobody, person, company or otherwise, can predict their direction. They can only take their opportunities as they come. They can continually scan for blips on life’s radar screen, and when a blip looks interesting, they investigate, execute, and watch what happens. 

It’s not exactly planning, but it’s certainly strategic. Just not in the way we’re accustomed to. 

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
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