Friday, December 17, 2021


The more you can clarify the logic and clearly paint the image of why the company is in the situation it is in and provide the vision of change, the better you can plan dynamically.

Organizations across the vertical sectors are at the different stages of the business maturity cycle, they have different concerns and focal points, varying strengths and weaknesses. Planning is an effective way to achieve well-defined business results if planning effort is integrated with normal management practices. 

Given the complexity and uncertainty of the business world and given the challenges of complex business problems nowadays, more often than not, lack of business insight leads to poor strategic planning for the long run. Planning fallacy is common inside and outside of the business at both strategic and operational management level. How to clarify the business logic behind planning to improve its practicality and adaptability?

Enhancing the planning logic by understanding- connection-discernment-penetration- clarification
: A business plan outlines the preferred course of action, providing direction. Statistically, across the sectors, the high ratio of strategic planning has been made poorly and caused catastrophic effects. Bad planning is too empty to follow through, or too verbose to clarify the message. With the faster pace of changes and continuous disruptions, as the say goes, the plan is nothing but planning is everything for adapting to the "VUCA" business new normal. If planned in detail as far ahead as the end state, much planning time and effort will be wasted. The disconnect between planning and implementation occurs when the wishful thinking at higher levels detaches from the reality at lower levels, further leading to misalignment and mismanagement. Good planning demonstrates strong logic, not necessarily goes to too many details, but clarifies every link of cause-effect, listing potential issues behind seemingly reasonable actions. That means the management needs to be vulnerable to hearing the ideas challenged from a viewpoint different from your own, to improve cross-functional communications to identify opportunities for solutions.

Significant variation from the planned result may, in fact, be a signal that the original plan is flawed; that a major shift in the environment has occurred. Strategic planning is a statement of “higher intent'' but is not a detailed plan in itself as you need to enable desirable emergent property and make adjustments accordingly. Understanding business context, diagnosing the most crucial issues, making discernment of information, enhancing vertical penetration, etc, are all logical steps in dynamic planning. Good strategic planning helps organizations extract the maximum value from their organizational capabilities portfolio to inform decision-making at multiple levels by getting feedback across the organizational hierarchy, and drive strategic alignment and optimization in a structural way. It is an iterative planning-implementation continuum: planning-implementing-assessing-re-planning…, the goal is to drive needed change with both disciplines and flexibility.

Establish a set of “What-if” scenario logic with agreed-to response plans in place:
Good planning is goal-directed, purposeful, and logical, and all intelligent activities are planned to reach clearly-defined goals. Planning, in uncertain times, should go hand in hand with contingency planning around “what if” scenarios. Estimate a range of potential impacts for each “what if” scenario; share a simplified table that identifies the drivers and trends underlying each scenario by using a high/medium/low quantity measure. Business executives are usually sensitive to emerging trends or risks; they are also informed of limitations of their business competencies. When there are a couple of big "it depends on..." issues, businesses benefit a lot from a strategic scenario mapping exercise that clarifies the different future scenarios they might be facing. The value of scenario planning based on analytics logic is to uncover significant risks in the strategic plan and make timely adjustments if necessary.

Uncertainty is a new normal. You can use your scenarios to explore how your current strategies will or will not help you against possible disruption. It is important to get you off the ground and running, also ensure that there is sufficient time to prepare the stakeholders for the changes on the way. An integral planning requires collaboration among cross-functional management applying information analytics to integrate disparate planning sources and gain a comprehensive knowledge of the organization's differentiated competency. The responsibility of the management is to enable desirable emergent property, clarify the logic to strengthen the weakest links and make a seamless alignment of planning and implementation.

Navigate through “5W+1H” inquiries and apply powerful analysis tools to enhance a planning-implementation cycle and predict sequence-consequence logically
: Business management plans, acts, observes the consequences of their action, makes inferences about those consequences, and draws implications for future action. To make planning effective and practical, it is important to get the bigger picture and be clear on what, who, when, and how to achieve business goals based on the financial value and available resources. In practices, there might be errors, mistakes, and failures in planning and implementing, holding the courage to delegate but not to overwhelm those they are delegating to is important. The dynamic planning-implementation, sequence-consequence cycle involves the continual attention to current changes in the organization and its external environment, and how this affects the future of the organization.

The degree of planning has a positive correlation with the degree of uncertainty and unpredictability. So business management is fundamentally an iterative cycle to design, build, scale and optimize business competency to solve problems and achieve the desired effect under specified performance standards and conditions. Workforce analysis, customer insight, resource/capacity management, etc., are all important to clarify planning logic, so the management are able to predict which consequences can be created through action steps of strategic implementation, and how to make proper adjustments timely. If the sequence of events is based on "outside in '' data and the end result is to transform the organization to increase its people centric maturity; if the sequence of activities is inside-out process driven, the consequence is often about operation improvement. To keep the teams and employees focused on the most important things, handle sequence & consequence of business initiatives, enforce logic, more often nonlinearly, to deliver business results in a consistent way.

A good strategic planning has the very characteristics of readability, clarity, comprehensibility, usability, and simplicity, etc. The more you can clarify the logic and clearly paint the image of why the company is in the situation it is in and provide the vision of change, the better you can plan dynamically. Forward-thinking and well-managed companies need to keep doing strategic planning, implementation and improving, not as linear steps, but as an iterative continuum.


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