Back when we started helping organizations in 1982 we used to create 5-year plans. Today that seems crazy! The uncertainty that we see 1-year out is what we used to see 5-years out. 1-year plans are now what the 5-year plan used to be. That means the old 1-year plan becomes your 1-Quarter plan. Think about it – the pace of change is such that your 16-week planning cycle results in a plan that is obsolete before the final approval is signed! Our turbulent business environment calls for greater agility from our organizations. Large corporations can use resilience to combat turbulence - large inventories of cash (Apple), high cost to switch (Microsoft) or inventories. The rest of us need agility.
Agile plans are ones that can be changed within minutes – and change what everyone does within days. They support scenario planning, big data (and small data), deep understanding and ownership, and integrate with risk and human capital. Easy, right?
The planning process needs to be light, fast and responsive. The dilemma has been that planning books and tools are developed in isolation of everything else that Leadership does. But what if they were integrated with everything else – like strategy, risk, financials, human capital and regulatory constraints. Now if anything in any of those areas shifted outside of your defined tolerances, a plan-rethink could be triggered.
What if that planning process saw leadership in a room with a series of sliders on the projection-screen moving a weighting, or target up or down; effecting changes across the entire organization. Increasing or decreasing risk, budget, human resources, or time. When integrated, these plans actually become simpler and lighter.