Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists


Your Future Requires Planning - and so does ours!

Friday 5 September 2008

Members of the Futures Foundation and the AFFA will be congregating in Pearl Beach in the coming weeks to consider the state of play in the Australian Futures community. Given the emerging challenges in Australia and around the world, the futures community requires just as much serious contemplation and forethought as does any one

The challenge for many businesses is that they do most of their 'planning' activities BEFORE most of their thinking activities.  I remember a senior manager of one large entity coming to me two days before an updated strategic plan was due to be submitted to the board with the following request: 'The Organisation's new strategic plan is due on Thursday - can you put something together that we can put it to the board?'  And this from an organisation employing quite a few thousand people!  At the time I said 'No I can't but if you bring me last year's plan I'll look at it and tell you areas where it needs to be improved in terms of clarity and content' which is what this senior manager did.

There was NO thinking done by this senior manager prior to planning or the other senior managers involved in making decisions.  In fact what it indicated was that the organisation had little intention of taking action on any of the initiatives contained within the Strategic Plan. One doesn't need to be Einstein to work out how often that organisation's senior management digs its employees into trouble!

Such a knee jerk approach occurs because senior management fails to allocate time to thinking seriously about the emerging future and potential implications.  The 'last minute' orientation occurs because in the past, senior managers have used a planning process that ignores accountability to ther decisions made and the intended and desired outcomes they set.  Such a process occurs all too often because the Board do not question the Strategic Planning process as part of a futures thinking cycle.

For the futures community we hold ourselves to arguably higher standards of thinking and planning which is why the Futures Foundation Board, along with members from both FF and the AFFA groups have been encouraged to attend the planning weekend.  Sure the surroundings will be conducive to a pleasant few days, and I suspect that given the depth of thinking about to be undertaken, much of the surroundings will take a distant second place.

If you're interested in ways to improve your organisation's planning methods and future based thinking skills, feel free and contact me

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