Category Archives: Strategic Planning

Wrong Assumptions?

When undertaking any form of planning for the future, whether strategic planning, scenario planning, or even environmental scanning, we need to be aware of our assumptions. We need to be aware of our biases.

There’s a story about two European shoe salesmen sent to different parts of a remote
part of Africa to study sales potential. The first reported back that since no one wore shoes, there was zero sales potential. The second reported that since no one wore shoes, the potential was infinite. Both salesman had the same facts, but both viewed the data differently. There interpretations were quite different.

With their different assumptions about why the market conditions were as they were, their conclusions were wildly different.

Are your assumptions right, is your frame of reference the only one that counts, what biases do you bring to the table?

So, what are the range of potential biases that you can have:

  • availability bias: how do recent events impact your responses?
  • framing bias: do you always look at a situation “through the same window frame”?
  • hindsight bias: “I knew it all along” with respect to our previous (wrong) predictions
  • confirmation bias: we only remember the times when we were right

The “anti-dote” for this is to be aware of your limitations. To be aware of how you view things. To understand what your perspective is.

Although its trite, which one of the three outlooks do you see yourself fitting in well with?

“Is the glass half empty, half full, or twice as large as it needs to be?

For more, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT-centric blog.

Is SWOT enough?

SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. A tool used in developing options when it comes to strategic planning.

But is it enough? Does it cover all of the scenarios that you could face in the time ahead? What are you reference points for asking the questions?

For there are limitations when is comes to using the SWOT tool. Are you using it simply to press home a point? In defending an already defined set of goals and objectives?

The original intent of the tool, which was developed by Albert S. Humphrey around 1970 (he was a management consultant for Stanford Research), and further strengthened by Dr Heinz Weihrich 10 years later (a management consultant associated with the University of SanFrancisco), was to diagnose why strategic planning was failing corporations.

And so, its a diagnostic tool. A method for evaluating the internal and external environment for the downside and upside.

And yes, SWOT can be enough. It can illicit important answers.

But, what are you using it for? What are the frames of reference within which you will be asking questions? Of what area are you seeking insights about?

For more, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT-centric blog.

Strategic Planning is Essential for Better Performance

Over the decades of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s there were a mixed bag of academic studies regarding the usefulness of strategic planning. Some studies poured cold water on the notion that strategic planning could improve the performance of a firm, others were hearty in their endorsement.

But time and again in recent years, analysis has shown that indeed bringing direction to an organisation through the process of strategic planning has indeed brought benefits.

Aspects improved include:

  • sales
  • profit
  • productivity
  • returns on investments
  • employee engagement
  • even the success ratio of new product development

The long-term implication from each of these studies is that if an organisation (whether for-profit or not-for-profit) thinks about its future and puts some resources into planning its direction (where it is, where it wants to go, and how it will get there) it will not only survive but thrive.

For more, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT-centric blog.