Monday, 18 January 2010

Martijn Sjoorda: Don't Become Institutionalised

Martijn Sjoorda is Partner in Fresh Orange and Dialogic Leadership in the Netherlands, where he helps organisations become more effective, managing change be developing people. His take on business planning is that it should never be a procedure; his experience is that once it becomes institutionalised, it doesn’t get results. Instead Martijn advocates you should have a dot on the horizon that you are passionate about and focused on, but should constantly revisit how you get there. 

His other advice is: “don’t believe the bullshit in the spreadsheets”


  1. This is a comment on how business is done, more than on Martijn:

    I'm shocked that apparently planning is done by spreadsheets and is generally viewed as something that is set in stone. Also what I get from this is that generally it isn't accepted to admit that you were wrong in the first place when making the initial planning, while your first planning wil ALWAYS be wrong and will need to be iteratively refined according to what in reality is happening.

    So for me personally, I can't really get into unplanning as I see planning as a way to realise my ultimate goal and a tool to empower myself in doing so. (which means the planning can change every day, according to reality)
    If, generally speaking, sticking to the initial planning becomes the goal... wow, unplanning needs to happen. I just got why you launched this site.

  2. Thanks Robert-Jon. I'm with you on goals, we need those to know where our businesses and careers are going. But absolutely - we have to be flexible and be prepared to tear up the plan, tweak and reinvent again and again. Throwing a bunch of figures in a spreadsheet just to keep the CEO and Finance Director happy is a pretty flawed of planning anyway.

  3. Hey guys,

    I am with you on most of the things you say Robert-Jon. Unfortunately, in companies great and small, planning is often exactly what both of you speak to: an annual ritual that everybody hates, does in a half-baked way and forgets about once the exercise is over. And then everybody is surprised that the don't achieve their goals...

    So: yes again to goal setting, getting everybody to contribute their best to how to get there and actually going out and getting it, whatever it is, continuously. If that's your definition of planning, you do not need to unplan your business....

    Best, Martijn