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Planning the future?

Enterprises invest huge amount of energies in planning for the future. This practice is more common and structured in large and mature organizations than their smaller and younger peers. This is called Strategic planning process…many firms have dedicated resources typically composed of the most talented people who pass out of Ivy League schools. Common sense tells us, CEOs, Boards and Investors are most concerned about it and hence, they invest the top dollars on this function. I wonder why it’s so different in our daily lives!

Let’s think of some great people : living as well as dead across countries spanning various walks of life! Have we heard of them having created detailed plans of their future? Did they do scenario-planning and use any model to build the strategy? Surely not! It was their passion, self-confidence, humility, ambition, drive, courage to dream and walk the unbeaten path which made them great. If this is so, why do firms invest huge amount of resources like time, money and intellect in scripting the future? And even after writing many scripts, often there is a huge gap between what plays out in the market and what was scripted. Isn’t it enough reason to rationalize the planning function?

Of course, we need to plan! Without a plan, we don’t see the goal and hence, we reach nowhere. There is no doubt on the importance of planning. I am bothered about the attention it gets in B-schools and C-suites. I feel, strategic planning is seriously over-emphasised and over-invested.

In my opinion, we need to bring our folks together to dream, challenge the dreams, look around us, set ambitions and then start running towards it. The process must engage the hearts and the minds of the people. Many large firms focus so much on the intellectual capabilities and analytic prowess of their leaders that they exhaust their creativity to engage their own hearts. What about the hearts of their teams who are going to play the script?

Don’t we follow the simple steps of coming together, dreaming, looking around, thinking, challenging and setting the ambition when we plan our own future in a family? Isn’t this what we do when we plan a picnic or a vacation? Don’t we reach the goals? Aren’t we able to aim high? Yes, of course, we do! Then let’s get real and balance between our head and the heart! Let’s combine our intellectual strength with the emotional energies to produce some amazing results. The workplace will be wowed! Let’s do it!  

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