Investment Conference (Photo credit: Salmaan Taseer)
Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the face – Mike Tyson
One of the tweets I received in January declared 2013 is “The Year of Doing”. I am just coming around to fully appreciating what that means. We are in the midst of a trend of epic proportions toward execution over deliberation. This shift is very evident in strategic planning, project development, and capital investment. As someone who has presided over many strategic planning processes, I am not sure I completely buy into this, but the trend is unmistakeable.
Traditionally, you could think of management as the planners, the doers, and the counters. The lines have blurred over time, but the planners’ specialty was targeting the hogs, while we all know the doers brought in the bacon. Until the recent past, in order for a venture capitalist or corporate leader to invest in an initiative, you had to build a pretty bulletproof, strategic business case. It was expected that you would have done significant expansive research, pushed all of that data through a number of trusted strategic frameworks, come up with a shortlist of alternatives, and used logic and communication skills to prove the optimal business case to achieve corporate goals. That understates a managed strategic planning effort that took months to create, enlisted diverse opinions, and required more months to diligence and gain approvals prior to any implementation.
Little to none of that strategic planning process appears to matter anymore. As the eminent thought leaders at the failed WebVan would attest*, regardless of your strategic planning proficiency, only hindsight is 20-20.