Location: Macatawa, Michigan

Charles L. Bradford is a pioneer in strategic management for small to mid-sized companies. He is the Chairman of the Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc., a nationwide strategy firm with eight consultants which he founded in 1981.

Friday, October 27, 2006

We want to plan, but can't we do it next year?

There may be valid reasons for delaying the initiation of strategic planning, but you should be very cautious about doing so. First and foremost, all too frequently our clients have discovered things during the initial planning cycle that would have probably remained undiscovered in the absence of the planning process and which would have caused great damage in that event. Second, the world is not going to stop and wait for you. Windows of opportunity open and close. Third, delay can become continual.

A common cause for delay is the perception that the management team just isn’t ready for strategic planning -and that the delay will result in better planning. Sometimes this may be true; e.g. the company is recruiting a new CEO. But no company is ever going to be fully ready, and “better” planning next year is seldom really “better”.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Why plan in a world that is highly uncertain?

There is sometimes the feeling that forward planning is futile because it will be overwhelmed by unanticipated events and developments. Uncertainty is, indeed, a major problem in forward planning. However, to conclude that the best way to deal with the problem is to not plan is an ostrich-like response. To the contrary, the greater the uncertainty, the greater the need for good strategic planning.

For more thoughts on this and other questions on strategic planning, visit

Friday, October 13, 2006

Can a smaller company afford the time for strategic planning?

Experience shows that the top management team will devote approximately 2 - 4% of its time to Simplified Strategic Planning. In reality, structured strategic planning is not something more to do, but rather a better way of doing something already being done. Indeed, in the long run it is a net time saver. It should be acknowledged that there is a danger of strategic planning becoming a time trap. Avoiding that trap is one of the fundamental purposes of Simplified Strategic Planning.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Does a smaller company have the resources to do adequate strategic planning?

The resources in question are the people who will be doing the strategic planning -- those who are running the business. The management of the smaller company has a distinct advantage over the management of the business giant when it comes to strategic planning because they are intimately familiar with what goes on in the business -they are down in the trenches rather than insulated and isolated up in corporate headquarters. So the answer is a resounding YES.

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