Leaders are well aware of the need to do things differently, faster, and better. But most are still approaching their annual planning rituals in the same tired ways—sending out budget templates, holding two days of round-robin pitches, setting stretch goals based on last year’s results, and allocating capital based on expected 12-month returns.
Strategic and financial planning cannot be a one-time thing. It needs to be an all-the-time thing. Upstart competitors, technology breakthroughs, or geopolitical shifts can appear unexpectedly. Ongoing monitoring can help companies spot these changes. By scanning the landscape, orienting themselves to new circumstances, deciding how to respond, and acting quickly, leaders can extend advantage over the medium and long term. Japanese samurai Miyamoto Musashi said, “In strategy, it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.”
Bold plans do not come from old plans. Dusting off last year’s approaches and incrementally improving them could cede potentially transformative moves to nimbler rivals. In the new post crisis reality, tempo advantage will go to those who rip up the conventional planning process and begin anew.