Reflecting recently with very fond memories of my educational path in life, I thought of my commencement speech entitled: “To Be or Not To Be Involved – That is the Question.” Well, this made me think that perhaps the end of each and every year is the right time to start thinking about a similar question – “To Plan or Not to Plan.” You may have considered strategic planning in the past and seemed to always come up with some valid reasons for delaying the initiation of strategic planning. And you may be thinking as you read this that you have some valid reasons for delaying the initiation of strategic planning again. However, please permit me to share a note of caution about delaying your decision.

1. Very frequently businesses have discover things during the initial planning cycle that would have probably remained undiscovered in the absence of the planning process. It is always amazing what you can learn from employees when you simply “ask them” questions during the planning cycle.

2. In today’s ever-changing world, business is not going to stop and wait for you. Windows of opportunity open and close frequently and quickly. Will you be prepared to “see and recognize” those opportunities? Or will they “pass you by because you did not see or recognize them.”

3. Delay can become a habit. One common cause for delay is a perception that you and/or your team simply isn’t ready for strategic planning — and therefore if you delay until they are ready, you will achieve better planning. While I may admit that there could be sometimes when this may be true: e.g. the company is recruiting a new CEO, there is no company that will ever be fully ready. Also, “better” planning next year is seldom really “better” and there has been a year of lost opportunities.

Is my message being received? The time to act is now – please don’t procrastinate any longer. The sooner you begin, the sooner the power of strategic thinking and strategic planning can benefit you and your company. If you want to learn about that real power, please contact Glenn Ebersole through his web site at or by email at [email protected].