Planning. A Hamster Wheel of Futility
or Escalator of Opportunity?
It’s the unofficial start of the new business year and a new cycle of planning. Ugh, here we go again.
We are tired and worn down by the endless, disruptive change that requires us to adapt and change our plans. But, now we expect it. It has become the normal course of events. We expect more change, more disruption ahead in the next quarter and in 2023 and so we plan for it. And that’s a mistake.
The mistake I see business leaders making is planning for change instead of planning with it.
Planning for change is a mistake because it becomes scenario planning, a what-if defensive posture that builds reactions to changes in market, economic and supply conditions. It’s tiring, this constant reaction to what has happened in your market, the economy and company. And it changes you. Maybe this has happened to you at some point in the past two years?
- You become hardened to change. Instead of being open to new approaches and ideas you fall back on past best practices from a time of stable, reliable, and certain conditions. That’s not happening anytime soon.
- You begin to believe that execution of your what-ifs is planning. It’s not. Good execution is part of your plan, not planning.
- You start to think “busy” means it’s working. Not necessarily. Keeping up is not getting ahead. And there are opportunity costs to consider.
Don’t fall into the planning for change trap this season.
Instead plan with change. Planning with change is a what-could-be offensive posture that builds company responses to the changes in needs and behaviours that emerge from the disruptive change events in market, economic, supply and social conditions. Planning with change focusses your people and the company on what happens next, where the next opportunity is. Could this become your next planning cycle?
- Using best practices as a starting point and “walking forwards in the radiance” of your past success, iterating and adapting your way into the opportunities found in disruptive change.
- Becoming truly agile with accountable execution. Empathetic solutions, nimbly executed in response to changes in your employees and customers’ needs is good planning and responsible operating.
- Working with purpose. Aligning company purpose with that of your customers in your next planning cycle will be time well-spent on solving the attraction/retention, differentiation and next-level innovation challenges that are in front of us now.
Planning with change when change is rapid, chaotic and disruptive will create a high-flow pipeline of new growth opportunities, improve revenue, employee and customer relationships and business and brand relevance.
So, this season step off the hamster wheel and onto an escalator of opportunity that is more deserving of your time and attention.