How Much Time Do You Spend Planning?

September 14, 2021

By now, you've undoubtedly figured out that we're huge admirers of Peter Drucker. He is regarded as the founder of contemporary management.

One of his quotations is very relevant to this article on strategy and the future. “The best way to predict the future is to create it,” Drucker remarked.

What steps do you take to shape the future?

The process begins with identifying the future, creating a vision of it, and converting it into a customer-centric strategy that can be implemented. An actionable plan identifies the tasks that must be completed in order to realize the vision.

The decisions, or strategy, have ramifications for people, organizational structure, systems, tools, processes, partners, and suppliers, among other things.

Of course, planning for the future does not negate the necessity to produce results now. It's a fine line to walk.

And it's not simple to accomplish since today's expectations are never-ending. That is why leaders must set aside time to think about the future on purpose.

While there is no hard and fast rule regarding how much time a leader should spend thinking about the future, several articles recommend at least 10 hours each week. That was quite a day!

A day to consider how you generate and provide value for customers. A day to consider how to outwit and outrun your competitors.

How One Week at a Time Creates Tomorrow's Strategy

Future preparations Organizing your business Strategy Future business consumer strategic planning systematic approach Imagine dedicating one day to planning and shaping the future. Future-oriented strategy is required.

What are your thoughts on this?

Here are several types of questions that you and your team may use as a starting point. It's useful to think about them in terms of things you can control vs those you can't.

What are we doing right now that we should continue to do? Why? What can we do to improve these?

What can be done to make them more valuable? What kind of investments would we require?

What are we doing right now that we should alter or stop doing? Why?

What will happen to our consumers if we cease or change? What effect would this have on our company?

What are the top three trends that are affecting our existing customers? What impact do these developments have on them?

What impact will these developments have on our business? How can we utilize them to develop innovative solutions that benefit our customers and our business?

What are the top three trends affecting our industry? Why?

What does this imply for our clients? What strategies are our rivals using to solve these issues?

How can we take advantage of these developments to get a competitive edge? How can we utilize them to develop new products and services that will benefit both consumers and the company?

What opportunities do these developments offer for new markets and/or customers?

What are the top 3-5 global trends? What are the immediate and long-term consequences? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each of these patterns?

What effect will these developments have on our consumers, markets, and industry? What can we do with them to come up with fresh solutions?

Gain access to new markets and customers? How can you provide additional value to your current consumers and the business as a whole?

Exploring the answers to these and other questions is critical for determining a strategy, allocating resources, and directing actions that will make a difference, as well as finding areas of potential and improvement.

The first two categories of inquiries are often under the control of the company, while the final three categories are frequently out of your control. And, in some ways, it makes these questions even more critical, since these are the things that have the most potential for disruption and chaos.

Whatever the case may be, the answers will lead to decisions, and your decisions will have repercussions across your company. From the consumers you service to the goods you provide, to the R&D, manufacturing, and delivery, Marketing and Sales, and Customer Service investments you make, everything matters.

Do you want to be a part of shaping the future? Take a methodical approach

Future preparations Future Taking a methodical approach to business strategy and strategic planning planning a business Exploring the answers to these questions is not a one-and-done process, given the pace of technical innovation, the fast influx of money into new companies, and the power of the consumer.

Gathering research via cross-functional teams and culminating in quarterly or yearly strategy sessions is no longer sufficient. Because of the current speed of business, these and other issues must be addressed on a regular, maybe even weekly basis in order to quickly generate useful, actionable insights and set up experiments to evaluate possible solutions.

We think that having a methodical strategy to examining these issues, finding signals and pertinent data that offer insight into the questions, and assessing your responses is critical to ensuring that these external influences serve as opportunities rather than problems.

We suggest that you engage in frequent, weekly contacts with members of your ecosystem, such as your supply chain, influencers, customers (create a customer advisory board), and rivals as part of this methodical strategy (attend industry events). These encounters allow you to listen and pull out their problems and/or external obstacles, as well as their goals and areas of investment.

Working groups may be formed and deployed around each of the issue areas, such as Tiger Teams or SWOT Teams. It involves the rest of the team in the process and lets you see what you haven't seen before.

Expect the competitors to follow a similar path, with an emphasis on taking advantage of growth possibilities. As a result, time is of the essence.

You have the option of leading the group or following behind as a close follower. Be ready for any eventuality.

Scenario planning is beneficial since it allows you to examine a broad variety of possible scenarios. The act of thinking about the future serves as a foundation for scenario planning, ensuring that you don't "boil the ocean" while still considering interruptions and where and how you may provide value.

Scenarios may help you understand the difference between the present and future states, as well as the gaps in your client base, portfolio of products and services, processes, and so on.

Defining THE future state you want to build and then working backwards to identify key innovation and operational milestones and their timing – all the way down to the present point in time – is made easier by thinking about the future on a regular and frequent basis. You now have a map that shows you how to go from where you are to where you want to go.

This strategy is in line with Stephen Covey's Habit 2: Start with the End in Mind. “Your most important work is always ahead of you, never behind you,” he wisely observed.

Continuous strategic planning allows for the fast introduction, testing, refinement, or termination of strategic initiatives.

Will You Be Ready for the Future When It Comes?

The next stage is to encourage the rest of your team to embrace the vision and prepare after you've established a clear vision for the future and defined the consumers you'll be servicing and how success will be evaluated.

Thinking about the future provides individuals with a goal to strive towards and helps them align. For the future is on its way.

Thanks to Laura Patterson at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

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