New Year, new plans

A client of mine asked me whether I had done my planning for the next year? I answered “Yes” and “No”.

Another asked, “how to get a fresh perspective for the year that lies ahead? How to avoid that January turns out to be more of the same?” Continue reading


Scenario conversations

The business and financial worlds have changed dramatically. The traditional approach to planning in no longer sufficient. We live in turbulent times. For 20 recession-free years, the business environments in most countries were relatively simple. This is no longer the case. A recession and globalisation have changed our business environments.

To match new circumstances we need to use better planning tools such as scenario conversations. This tool has been around for decades but has largely been unused. Has your company ever used a broad scenario conversation as a precursor to developing its strategic and operational plans? Continue reading

Strategy maps – simple but seemingly complicated

All of my clients know that I enthuse about the simplicity of the Balanced Scorecard (BSC), Strategy Maps and the BSC itself, developed by Kaplan and Norton. Today, in a discussion with a client company’s knowledgeable director, I could again sense that the seemingly complexity of a BSC Strategy Map is so off-putting to some senior staff members working under pressure that the easy way out would be to say “we cannot set aside the time to develop and implement the map.”

Of course, people do not like complexity or change. But as I have observed in a previous post On being a (business) student, mastering a few simple planning principles is often only a case of putting aside a few hours. Compare this minute effort to the hours that go into obtaining a degree or the hours which goes into reading a Sunday newspaper (every Sunday). Continue reading

Good to Great and the Balanced Scorecard

A small independent community bank in Iowa, USA, has adopted the “Good to Great” framework developed by Jim Collins. They are struggling to build a Balanced Scorecard (BSC) that accommodates this framework.

“How could the Balanced Scorecard be aligned to Good to Great’s three components of Disciplined People, Disciplined Thought, and Disciplined Action?” Shane Tiernan, who leads strategic planning in this bank, visited my website. He e-mailed the question to me.

Fortunately, this alignment can be done fairly easily. The BSC framework can accommodate any theory. Continue reading

Your business constitution

Two clients drew comparisons between a constitution and a mission statement.

South Africa reached an important milestone in 1994 with the creation of a new constitution. There are strong similarities between a government and a company. For one, a company which wishes to delve deep and create a new mission is really developing a new constitution. Continue reading

Why plan?

Most people sense there is value in planning. They intuitively know that planning will lead to a greater definition of what they wish to achieve and to actions which will grow their businesses. A frequent question is: How to move from absolutely no formal planning to some form of planning? Continue reading

Thin slice it

One client asked: “How to get going? I find it difficult to make my plans part of my daily doing. How do you do it? ” We agreed that developing great ideas about the direction which is to be taken is great, invigorating and exiting. But the first new actions thereafter are less so. Your daily routine is a habit. How to change old patterns? Continue reading