In regions where forestry is big industry, loggers regularly gather for games, one of which is something called log rolling.
With this, two loggers climb on a log floating in water and use their spiked boots to “roll” it furiously to throw their opponent in the drink.
To be successful at log rolling, you have to be very fast on your feet, creative, and nimble. You have to be able to adjust instantly to changes going on under your feet. If you can’t, you’ll end up all wet.
Similarly, to be successful as an organization today, you and many of the people in it, have to be very adept at a version of log rolling. It has to become an essential part of your strategic planning.
Traditionally, strategic planning sessions involve a team of leaders who gather somewhere and map out where their organization is going over the next one, three to five years. Then they produce a formal plan with key performance indicators, success measurements and all the other formalities that go into a plan.
But formal plans are too often disrupted these days, and not just by economic forces like the recession. There’s simply too many uncertainties out there now, so plans can become straightjackets that hamper what you really need – the ability to react to emerging circumstances creatively.
Today’s world is unpredictable and dynamic. New information is always coming in. Situations change on a dime. Markets morph or fracture. Operations are disrupted. New technology is constantly changing the game. Precisely predicting where you’ll be in five years can be a real gamble.
So a new form of dynamic and creative strategizing and planning has to emerge. Instead of rigidly planning out every moment of their lives, organizations, both large and small, have to set directions, keep their minds open, be prepared to shift rapidly, and greatly enhance their creativity and innovation thinking.
They have to be able to assess the impact of new circumstances very quickly, and then react just quickly, not blindly ignore them and hope that “sticking to the plan” will get them through it.
In a world of high-speed change, it won’t. But a superior ability to “log roll” might.