Five-year plans are less than 2% accurate

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In recent years something that has become clear to me is that a number of major South African corporations have scrapped their five-year planning processes. And good for them, because these have been proven to be time and money-wasting exercises that are out of date the second the ink has dried on the whiteboard.

Even large organisations are learning to be more agile in their thinking and planning, which means that detailed long-term plans are obsolete.

I’ve come to conclusion that one of the most important business strategies is for companies to have a long, hard, honest look at themselves and identify what it is that actually makes productive and profitable.

This same single-mindedness is required in marketing planning. And the only way to be responding correctly to consumer and market changes is to constantly be undertaking market research. This allows the business to respond quickly and in the appropriate manner.

Operating in a more agile manner removes the need for five-year plans as the immediate response is more important to the business moving forward. The ability to make clear decisions based on facts far outweighs assumptions on the impact of political, economic and social influences in five weeks, let alone five years’ time.