Thursday, 25 February 2010

Alan Webber: In Times Like That It's Hard To Imagine What Kinds Of Planning You Can Do

Alan M. Webber is an author, columnist and founding editor of Fast Company magazine. His articles and columns have appeared in The New York Times Sunday magazine, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times. He is the co-author of ‘Changing Alliances’ and ‘Going Global’ and his latest book ‘Rules Of Thumb’ has had great reviews from Paolo Coelho, Tom Peters and Seth Godin. As a big fan of ‘Fast Company’, Alan was on my target list to talk to about #unplan. Here’s what he says:

“I recently heard a speech where Bob Johansen suggested that the new acronym for these times is ‘VUCA’ (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous). I guess it's a term the military uses, but it's fitting for business, life, you name it.

In times like that it's hard to imagine what kinds of planning you can do. I guess you can lay out directions; you can define first principles; you can identify values and causes, customers and markets; you can describe a way of doing business and a culture; you can talk about intentions and trajectories. But the old-style planning--do you remember when companies would have shelves loaded with 3-ring binders with their plans? How would that work today? And what is a reasonable time horizon for doing planning? Even planning has to be reinvented to be relevant these days!”

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