“It’s a bad plan that admits of no modification.” – Publilius Syrus
It’s the understatement of the year to say that we live in a world that’s constantly changing. Right now, most leaders feel like things change so fast that before they understand the current situation, it changes, and they never get caught up. Some of the best leaders I know are at the point where they’re almost willing to throw up their hands and give up.
Not surprisingly, I hear from a lot of people that it just doesn’t make sense to plan for the future when things are changing so quickly. Why make a plan if people/products/markets/whatever are all going to be different in 6-12 months? What’s the point?
In this rapidly changing environment, planning is no less valuable than it’s ever been. It’s how we plan that needs to be different. The way we go about planning and developing strategy need to be agile, just like everything else we do.
For starters, having some kind of retreat where you talk about strategic issues and the future and then not talking about it again until next year’s retreat doesn’t work. You need to revisit plans and initiatives regularly. Maybe that’s quarterly, maybe that’s monthly – you decide what works best. Whatever the case, you need some kind of regular recalibrations.
Also, the point of planning is action. What are you going to change? What are you going to do differently? At some point you actually have to try and implement something. Don’t wait until you have the perfect plan before you start moving on it. There’s never a perfect plan at any time, but that’s especially true in an environment like this. If it takes you forever to roll it out, it’s already obsolete.
Most businesses have figured out how to be agile over the past few years. We might deliver our products & services differently, we might manage our people differently, we might market differently, etc. Our planning & strategy development need to be just as agile.
Keep that in mind as you think about the changing future. Just because the future’s going to be very different doesn’t mean you don’t plan. It just means that your planning must be different too.