Is Long-Term Vision and Strategy Dead?

by | Resources, Visioning & Planning

Several years ago the Wall Street Journal ran an article suggesting that strategic planning was losing favor. That the world was changing so rapidly in the economic downturn that many were questioning if there was any value in ‘planning’ for the future – because in all likelihood those plans would change. Some even suggested strategy was dead.

I am an advocate for strategic planning. So I disagree with any perception that strategy is dead and not worth doing. I also disagree that any business or organization should use this perception held by some as an excuse to abandon strategic planning efforts.

Yes the world is changing rapidly around us. Not just because of the economic downturn, but because of the emergence of a true world economy, because of technological changes, because of individual rather than group focus.

But here is the crux of my commitment to strategy – I don’t believe you can run a successful businesses or organizations like a day trader. You can’t get up each morning, look at some limited data, and guess that day’s winner. Not consistently. Chasing one path on Monday, only to abandon it on Tuesday, to chase a different one.

I believe success comes to those who know who they are at the very center, not just as individuals, but as a collective organization. And it comes to those who know where they want to be in the future. Where they hope to take that organization. This is a clear sense of purpose and a clear sense of direction.

Once you have that – once that is clear in the minds of the leadership or management team – you then need to effectively communicate that to everyone else within the organization.   And to do so vividly, so they clearly see the same thing that you do. And in a compelling manner so that they want to join with you and help you bring the vision to reality.

Day trading is a strategy. But probably not the most effective path to financial independence. Not having a vision or a strategic plan is also a ‘strategy’ in and of itself: To not look long-term because of its unpredictability; To focus only on the here and now. But I contend that it too is an ineffective approach. The most successful organizations and businesses know where they are, know where they want to be, and know where they need to start in order to get there.

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