Wednesday, May 26, 2004

A Vet's Call for a Plan

Smart business people have known about the concept of strategic planning for a long time. But for some reason, it's only the exceptional politician who understands it. The Bush administration does not understand it, maybe because the idea is so simple, and verified, that it's not worth their time. The Kerry campaign has sniffed around it and has the opportunity to use it.

So what is strategic planning?

Here's your short course. I wish I could give you college credit after you are complete, but it's so simple and obvious that it's like a riding a bike...oops, I forgot, some people have trouble with that also.

Lesson #1:

We all look at past events and try to determine what the future will look like. Simple concept, and it makes sense to look at the past - up to a point. We all tend to use the same methods that seemed to work for us in the past. Virtually all budgeting, like the use of your checkbook, takes place this way. Therefore this type of planning, often called programmed planning, is perfectly suited for government type thinking – in fact it permeates about 99.99% of it. But this type of planning is limited because: (1) The future is based on the past, therefore the same types of mistakes are repeated and, more importantly, (2) The future is where you THINK you will be – you are driven to REACT to events, rather than anticipating them.

Strategic Planning, on the other hand says this: Let’s try to determine where we WANT to be (not where we THINK we will be), and therefore, set goals to do so. We can’t control everything for the future, but this type of thinking encourages creativity and innovation because it is proactive in shaping events, not reacting to them. And we can change our planning if new factors become known – it’s flexible. Many of us responded to Gov. Dean's campaign because of this kind of thinking.

So students, which type of planning does Mr. Bush use? Right, you get an “A.” The results will tell you. In the business world, if you keep making the same mistakes, can’t anticipate the future, go into deep debt, and are driven by events, you are out of business in a hurry. In Mr. Bush’s world, you run for re-election.

Mr. Kerry, you are using strategic planning types of jargon, but more substance and action will be needed in the months ahead, especially with regard to veterans, if you want their vote. We’ll start building a strategic plan for veterans right here, in between reporting on why Mr. Bush’s thinking is stuck in reverse.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link