Here’s why strategic planning doesn’t work,
or is uninspiring,
or is simply a “wish list” that never comes true…
Strategic planning is based on the past –
what you’ve always done,
who your clients have always been,
what’s brought you to today.
Except, today is fundamentally different than “yesterday” was.
And tomorrow’s going to be even more wacky.
- Ten years from now, we’ll have driverless cars.
- Ten years from now, students will be graduating with degrees fueled mostly by MOOCs.
- Ten years from now, even more jobs will be automated and you…? You might be redundant.
So, it makes NO SENSE to call a plan “strategic” when it’s based on
- Bricks and mortar higher education
- Full employment
Strategic planning starts in the past – what you’ve always done –
and sets goals to do all of that incrementally better faster cheaper in the next 2, 3, or 5 years.
What’s needed now, more than ever before, is strategic foresight.
Strategic foresight takes a cold, hard look at the trends in technology, society, the economy, the environment and politics and asks, “What is our future likely to look like ten (or twenty) years from now?”
It imagines several, possible futures and then asks, “Are we ready for any of these?”
- It’s GM asking, “What will the world be like with more car sharing and fewer kids getting drivers licenses?”
- It’s Clearwater Gas asking “What if the federal government outlaws fracking?”
- It’s the Charleston business community asking, “What will our quality of life be when we are home to one million people?”
Americans are terrible at strategic foresight.
As proof: I bet all of you took at least one history course in your educational career.
But no one takes a futuring class.
Which is a shame, because none of you are going to live in the past.
We’re all going to live in the future.
So why should we base our “plans” on the past?