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Build the Model Organization of the Future

5 Jun, 2010 By: Jim Whitt imageSource

Build the Model Organization of the Future

Stop Planning and Start Pioneering. Before you invest time
& money in traditional strategic planning consider this: only 5-10% of strategic
plans are ever implemented. The reason most organizations engage in strategic
planning is to reduce anxiety. It’s like taking a couple of aspirin for a
headache. In this case the headache is the future. The aspirin is a couple of
days locked in a room putting check marks in the appropriate boxes: mission
statement (yada, yada, yada); SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities, threats); long range goals (3-5 years). Ah, that feels better.
Yet like the aspirin bottle, the plan is put on the shelf. But the future, like
the headache, keeps coming back. As Dr. Phil likes to ask, “How’s that working
for you?”

Even if you do try to implement a plan using this process
it will be flawed. Think back five years ago. It seems like a millisecond
doesn’t it? If you look no further ahead than five years you’ll see the future
as an extension of the present. You’ll be trying to solve tomorrow’s problems
with yesterday’s solutions. If you really want your organization to succeed in
the future, you need a pioneering process instead of just a planning process.
Instead of looking ahead 3-5 years you need to look a decade, maybe a generation

Regardless if you are a dealership, end user, manufacturer,
or other type of business, to get started you will need to assemble key people
in your organization to be part of your pioneering team. How many and who you choose will depend on the size and
structure of your organization. Break them into small groups and have them
select a facilitator and recorder for their group. Ask the following questions,
one at a time, giving the group time to share and record their answers. After
each question, have the groups share their answers with the rest of the team.

  1. What did the world and your industry look like 10
    years ago?
    This question primes the pump. Once you’ve compiled a list of the
    monumental changes that have taken place in the last 10 years, you
    understand there will be monumental changes that will take place in the next
    10 years.
  1. What will the world and your industry look like 10
    years from now?
    While no one can accurately predict the future, remember
    that Jules Verne was writing about a trip to the moon 100 years before it
    happened. Don’t limit your thinking. Tell your team to be as futuristic as
    their minds will let them.
  1. What will your organization have to be, do and look
    like to succeed in the future you just described?
    You are not bound to the
    form or model of your current organizational structure. Borrow a page from
    Star Trek and dare to boldly go where no man has gone before. Be innovative
    and intuitive.
  2. What will you have to do to help the organization get
    Planning for an organization’s future requires collectively creating
    a picture of our future where we’ll find meaning and purpose, not just as a
    group, but as individuals.

The collective answers to these questions provide the
information your team will need for the next assignment: A major newsstand
business magazine has selected your organization as The Model Organization in
the year 2020. Now have each team member write an article describing what
happened in the last decade between then and now that enabled you to become that
model organization.  These articles are a matter of engaging your team in a
process of writing tomorrow’s history today. Everything you need to do to
succeed in the future is contained in that history. You’ll identify your
organization’s purpose, operating philosophy, business models and structure.
You’ll identify goals and objectives and the people who need to be responsible
for their completion. Your history will have everything you need to develop a
real strategic plan. Implementation then becomes a matter of living the history.

What makes this process effective is that instead of
starting at the present and trying to work your way forward you are starting at
the future and working your back.

 Of course, this is a condensed, simple overview of the
pioneering process. It takes a genuine commitment of time and energy. If you
simply want to reduce your anxiety about the future, take the road most
traveled. But if you want to succeed in the future, you have to go beyond
traditional planning and do some serious pioneering. Pioneering has never been
for the faint of heart. It’s for those who want to lead rather than follow, and
thrive instead of just survive. Pioneers take the road less traveled.

Which road will you choose?

Jim Whitt, for more than 20 years as a speaker,
consultant & author, has provoked people & organizations to reach their full
potential. He is cofounder of Purpose Unlimited which is in the business of
transforming lives, leaders & organizations through the power of purpose. Visit
www.PurposeUnlimited.com or call 918-494-0009.


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