How does management planning compare to 25 years ago?Is planning becoming more important or less important when everything changes so quickly and crises are a regular part of organizational life?
The primary change since 1985 is the speed at which information can be gathered, relayed, and interpreted. Management planning requires seeing into the future of product demand, costs, and availability (of material and personnel); the other major change is diversity—expanding from the core service or product to other related opportunities, with the company's goals in mind at all times. Mergers, buy-outs and similar compressions of managerial responsibility call for up-to-date and reliable sources of information. The management planning responsibility, now more than ever, demands a worldview of supply and demand, and a flexibility to change quickly and accurately. A good analogy is the World’s Cup of Sailing—since 1985 the multihull design, which allows speeds twice as fast as the wind itself, demands complete managerial tactics changes—attention to electronic border signals, right-of-way rules calling for faster maneuver decisions, wider turns, etc. Similarly, in the manager’s business world, quicker decisions, closer tolerances, and international rules of supply and demand make management planning a job only for the nimble and double-jointed.