Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Forget The Planning. Focus On Doing.

I’ve spent much of my career busting myths about the way things *should* be in life and business. In most organisations there’s a lot of effort devoted to the tradition of business planning. Five year plans, forecasts, projections. But now more than ever, I don’t see the point of long term planning. Sure, I understand the rationale: the importance of investor and shareholder accountability and of measuring performance. But it seems so academic in an ever changing world: better to be pragmatic and reactive in a world where things change in a flash.

It’s a subject that I hope to be talking about at SXSW 2010 with David Sloly – ‘How To Unplan Your Business’. I also talked to Gary Vaynerchuk about it on his recent trip to London (video here, go to 08:11):

"A 5 year plan is impossible in a world where what 5 years represents is so different than it used to”.

And then this week Stefan Stern in the FT talked about ‘The Death Of The Five Year Plan’:

“ are unpredictable. The economic outlook is uncertain. The world has changed. If old-style strategy formulation is not exactly dead, then it is hardly in the best of health”.

So I say forget long plans and just focus on DO-ING. Put the damn idea or start-up or new product into the market and test and tweak as you go. Forget projections about what it’s going to make in Year 2, who knows until you get started? Who knows how market forces will change, how technology will change the game?

Let’s remember how technology has changed business lifecycles. I can launch a web business in a couple of hours. I can shoot a video on my Flip and post it up straight away. Here’s another example of the game-change. On Monday evening the songwriter Dave Stewart said let’s write a song on Twitter. Followers had just five minutes to write the lyrics and 24 hours later, the results are up = a demo of the song ‘Love Tower’ (featuring my lyrics). And it’s good! Download it here.

So quit the big planning and the big plans and just GET DO-ING.

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