Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists


The Best Laid Plans of Mice & Men, sometimes are not enough!

Wednesday 22 June 2016

(Thanks Robbie Burns). You've thought hard, you've planned well, you've written the plan up, everyone is on board, and you've started. And then things run aground. In the shock of a sudden impasse the questions that will often emerge during the crisis are 'how?' and How did we get this wrong? and What happened? And you know what, sometimes you just get shocks that you have to deal with. The challenge is How do you deal with it?

Inside the Strategic Planning phase and process there MUST be the development of alternative pathways that provide not so much a complete answer of how to overcome the shock, but a method to respond and keep working. That is a VERY different concept. The misleading phase some organisational strategy people use is 'Fight or Flight' But in reality Fight and Flight are the SAME things - MOVEMENT. Just in Opposite Directions - one towards a threat, one away from it.

The side of the coin missed too frequently is FREEZE. In nature, in human psychology and in organisations you have Move OR Freeze as the options of which, Fight or Flight is in the Move column and 'Stillness' or 'Camoflauge' are in the Freeze column. In stressful or shock situations the MAJORITY or organisations will do Freeze BEFORE they do Move.

Your Strategic Planning must have gateways that shift you out of the freeze and into the move column as quickly as you can. That will come down to two core facets - 1. ensure that you have an organisation wide environmental scanning capability that alllows all staff to contribute to and pay attention to emerging signals of change. That capability must be able to reach top level decision makers. And 2. allow your Strategic Plan to stay fluid in its actions rather than fixed. If a strategy isn't working and you have thought in advance of the kinds of indicators that will tell you it isn't, then you can kill off that action rather than pursue it. You simply stop throwing good money (and time and people) after bad ideas. Shift and move on to something else.

That is what keeps you fluid in times of shock and gives you an option to move out of danger and hopefully gain the time and space you need to make a better set of choices.

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