It’s the future (or not keeping pace with it) that does you in.
The trouble is, most companies just trot out the same-old, same-old tired PESTLE and SWOT grids at Business Planning time. What they really need is a vigorous and stimulating debate. Inventive, speculative conversations where people really take a view based on intuition, experience, evidence and imagination. Then crystallise their responses into actions.
Here are some of the questions about the future to trigger the arguments:
- DEMAND: How will demand change shape over the next 5-10 years?
- CUSTOMERS: Who will be the prize customers in 5 -10 years?
- REQUIREMENTS: What will the most demanding customers expect?
- MARKET TRENDS: If we had to start all over again, focusing on exploiting one trend, which trend would it be?
- SUPPLIERS: If a competitor came in and destroyed us, how would they do it?
- PROCESS/TECHNOLOGY: How will business be done in our market in 5, 10 years time?
- CHANGE: What are the most do-or-die changes we need to make to be ready for the future?
Unless you can develop a distinctive view of the future, you are destined to miss the big waves of change that will make or break you.
It can be energizing. Hans Vestberg, Ericsson CEO, is working from the scenario that by 2025, there will be 50 billion connected devices. Energy meters, fridges, domestic lighting systems, smart street lamps … Imagine! He fizzes with excitement because he has a distinctive view that is driving innovation in his firm.
You too need a clear picture of the world you are heading into. That’s where the opportunities are.