Sage Advice – Strategic Planning and CI

January 17, 2017

How do these observations apply to competitive intelligence?

From General (and former President) Dwight D. Eisenhower: “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”[1]

From legendary science fiction author Isaac Asimov: “To succeed, planning alone is insufficient. One must improvise as well.”[2]

They mean that planning of any sort must not end with the plan. Being a part of the process means learning to work with all others similarly situate, even after the plan is done, to take necessary action based on accurate intelligence. You and they must be constantly alert to all of the changes that will impact the plan, or even render it useless.

You may be asked to work with strategic planners and provide CI, whatever it is called. Keep in mind that the need for such intelligence never ends at the “completion” of the planning cycle. Whether or not recognized by the planners themselves, CI is even more vital to the entire planning and execution process once the plan is done.

Why? Your competitors and the competitive environment will not give you the luxury of staying static or doing what you expected them to do in response to your firm’s actions, just to accommodate your planned efforts. Stay linked to those throughout the process and focus on keeping them updated rather than waiting for the next cycle or even the next updating meeting.

[1] Quoted by Dean James Stavridis, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, in “Trump’s national security strategy leaves too much unsaid”, Time, January 22, 2018, p. 45.

[2] Isaac Asimov, The Foundation Trilogy, Ballantine Books, 1983, p. 126.

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