Strategy and the Future

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Strategic planning, according to Kotter, fails at least 74% of the time. Yet, organizations that do not plan are also apt to fail. What are leaders to do?

One of the most dangerous freeways in America is Interstate-81, which stretches from Canada, through New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, ending in Tennessee. Eighteen-wheeler semi-trucks, mixed with cars, motorcycles, and motorhomes, make for sometimes hazardous conditions. Traveling that interstate all too often, the status of driving became clear – if drivers only look in the rear-view mirror, they will end up in a ditch. If they only look ahead to where they are going, they will not notice the motorcycle passing between lanes beside them, or the flashing red lights behind them.

Think of strategic foresight like driving a car. The physical automobile represents the present while the road ahead is the future. The rearview mirror stands for the past. Many organizations tend to look in the rearview mirror constantly, trying to remake the past in the present. Other organizations only see the future, ignoring their roots to guide them from the past through the present into the future. The safest drivers first plan where they are going by at least putting the destination in a GPS. Excellent drivers look around their immediate surroundings, briefly glancing into the car’s mirrors while moving forward along the road ahead. It is the same with leadership. Past, present, and future must guide the leader and the organization. Without one, the organization is out-of-balance.

Please join us as we venture into a very uncertain future together. Join our blog, ask for consulting or coaching, learn from the soon-coming leadership training on this site. Above all, begin to look around your organization. What are your priorities? Past? Present? Or Future? It’s time to merge all three into an action plan for the future.