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Leadership & Business Wisdom

LONG-RANGE PLANNING

THE FUTURE REQUIRES NOT JUST HAPPEN IF ONE WISHES HARD ENOUGH.

The future requires decisions – now. It imposes risk – now. It requires action – now. It demands allocation of resources, and above all, of human resources – now. It requires work – now.

The idea of long-range planning – and much of its reality – rests on a number of misunderstandings. The long range is largely made by short-run decisions. Unless the long range is built into, and based on, short-range plans and decisions, the most elaborate long-range plan will be an exercise in futility. And conversely, unless the short-range plans – that is, the decisions on the here and now – are integrated into one unified plan of action, they will be expedient, guess, and misdirection. “Short range” and “long range” are not determined by any given time span. A decision is not short range because it takes only a few months to carry it out. What matters is the time span over which it is effective. Long-range planning should prevent managers from uncritically extending present trends into the future, from assuming that today’s products, services, markets, and technologies will be the products, services, markets, and technologies of tomorrow, and, above all, from dedicating their resources and energies to the defense of yesterday. Everything that is “planned” becomes immediate work and commitment.

ACTION POINT: Focus your long-range planning on decisions based on such questions as these: “Which of our present businesses should we abandon? Which should we play down? Which should we push and supply new resources to?”

HOW TO ABANDON

ABANDONMENT MUST BE PRACTICED SYSTEMATICALLY.

“To abandon what?” and “To abandon how?” have to be practiced systematically. Otherwise they will always be “postponed,” for they are never “popular” policies.

In one fairly big company offering outsourcing services in most developed countries, the first Monday of every month is set aside for an abandonment meeting at every management level from top management to the supervisors in each area. Each of these session s examines one part of the business – one of the services one Monday, one of the regions in which the company does business a month later, the way this or that service is organized the Monday morning of the third month, and so on. Within the year, the company this way examines itself completely, including its personnel policies, for instance. In the course of a year, three to four major decisions are likely to be made on the “what” of the company’s services and perhaps twice as many decisions to change the “how.” But also each year, three to five ideas for new things to do come out of these sessions. These decisions to change anything – whether to abandon something, whether to abandon the way something is being done, or whether to do something new – are reported each month to all members of management. And twice a year all management levels report on what has actually happened as a result of their sessions, what action has been taken and with what results.

ACTION POINT: implement a process of systematic abandonment, such as setting aside the first Monday of every month for an abandonment meeting.

“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.”

OSCAR WILDE

“If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.”

DOROTHY PARKER

“Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”

OPRAH WINFREY

“A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned”

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

“As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all – the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.”

J.K. ROWLING

“Keep your best wishes, close to your heart and watch what happens”

TONY DELISO

“The biggest challenge after success is shutting up about it.”

CRISS JAMI

“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.”

ANNE HERBERT

“While money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.”

GROUCHO MARX

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people that they don’t like.”

WILL ROGERS

“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”

ALBERT EINSTEIN

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

EPICTETUS

“Making money isn’t hard in itself… What’s hard is to earn it doing something worth devoting one’s life to.”

CARLOS RUIZ ZAFÓN

“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”

NAPOLEON HILL

“Minds are like flowers, they only open when the time is right.”

STEPHEN RICHARDS

“Class is an aura of confidence that is being sure without being cocky. Class has nothing to do with money. Class never runs scared. It is self-discipline and self-knowledge. It’s the sure-footedness that comes with having proved you can meet life. “

ANN LANDERS

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

“Money may not buy happiness, but I’d rather cry in a Jaguar than on a bus.”

FRANÇOISE SAGAN

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