Sunday, 15 November 2009

Man plans.... and the Gods laugh

I got a wake-up call this week at a presentation on 'futures and trends' from David Smith, CEO of Global Futures and Foresight (I recommend a visit to www.thegff.com) - who took the audience through a huge range of social, economic, environmental and technological trends and then looked at possible impacts. Aside from the huge implications of many of the trends in themselves, the interrelation of many has even bigger ramifications that differ dramatically from nation to nation, sector to sector and organisation to organisation. I felt a chilling realisation that I have been so focused on my organisation, my vision and my world that I'd almost forgotten that the planet rolls on and global changes continue, oblivious to my strategising and planning.

I was reminded that, while leadership is such a crucial factor in any organisation's success, the secret of successful strategy is often alignment with the prevailing winds. Many (most?) of the biggest success stories in business have resulted from deliberate (and sometimes accidental) alignment of an organisation's plans, intentions, products and services with the tides of life and social change. Sometimes its a 'chicken or egg?' situation, but the success of Subway has clearly been helped by the trend towards a 24/7 life on the run... and who knows what would have happened to Starbucks, Costa et al without Rachel, Monica, Joey etc on the couch at Central Perk? My point is that the world is turning and we live in a time of unprecedented flux.... the next 2 decades will see the world transformed physically, culturally and socio-economically.

I nearly forgot. I won't again.

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