The world is constantly changing in ways that can both help or harm your business. Industry and market demand changes, governments change. New competitors, technologies, and business models emerge that can threaten your organization’s profitability, or present opportunities for growth. And that’s just from the outside. Any number of issues internal to your organization can change which impact how the future will look compared to the past.
Great thinkers and leaders know that the best way to keep yourself on the pathway to success is by having a plan. A plan that build on success, anticipates future challenges and opportunities. A plan that is structured enough to keep your moving forward, and flexible enough that you can adapt when the unexpected arises.
Here are some of our favourite quotes on the value of planning ahead.
“A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.” Confucius
Perhaps the earliest quote about planning comes from Confucius. The ancient Chinese philosopher warned about the dangers of short-term, short-sighted thinking. By focusing too much on the present and not enough on the future, organizations can and will be caught by surprise when trouble arises, making the impact even worse.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin
These first two quotes follow a similar line of thinking: if you don’t have a plan, failure is a matter of when, not if. Being unprepared can turn opportunities into threats and make minor problems into major issues. A hurried, poorly thought reaction to danger can create a cycle of reactionary solutions, each creating their own new problems.
“Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.” Richard Cushing
Good planning allows an organization to identify weaknesses, leverage strengths, and anticipate threats and opportunities before they develop. With foresight, organizations can prepare for the best way to address the specific troubles that arise, sailing through difficulties while competitors flounder.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” Leon Megginson
“You can’t drive forward while looking in the rearview mirror.” Multiple Attributions
In the past, it was possible for businesses to grow and thrive by just doing more of what they had always done. In the 21st century, disruptive technologies and ways of delivering service are moving quickly and surpassing more long-established options. Organizations that succeed will be the ones who look to the horizon, and innovate internally to adapt. When you see your business in 20 years, do you want to be Cannon or Kodak? Apple or Motorola?