Most Organizations Don't Plan Their Way To Success They Succeed By Stumbling From Crisis To Crisis

Many books are written on Long Range Planning, many articles extol its virtues and point out the benefits, and many courses are taught on the subject. In reality, however, rewards are given in American business for short range profits, while few rewards are given for good long range planning (such as 10 years). As a consequence managers get very good at what they are rewarded for -- short range goals, and aren't very good at doing things for the long-term. The absence of good planning results in the frequent arrival of crises, and the managers get VERY good at handling the crises.

I had a business associate who was a magnificent promoter of things and developed an abnormally good ability for resolving crises. When a crisis arrived he went into action with around-the-clock effort and his creativity soared. When things were more placid, however, he performed below average. Guess what environment he set up for himself? Crisis after crisis. He would commit to objectives well beyond his reach and invest every cent he had in the venture.

Corporations are not as extreme as the example of my friend, but there are strong similarities. During crises, many people produce at levels well over their heads, and bring up creative talents they never knew they had. Although this works in the short term, the essential foundations for long term success never get put in place.

©  2002 John D. Toellner, All Rights Reserved