Wednesday, 31 March 2010

What's your Planning Horizon?

March 31st. It’s the end of a quarter, or the end of a financial year depending. A time for looking back on objectives achieved and work that still needs to be done. Whether you plan on a monthly, quarterly or annual horizon, it’s a milestone.

The length of your planning horizon is important. To some people a quarter is a lifetime; for them a month is better. Of course it depends on your business and your ambitions. Google sets “impossible bodacious goals” and then achieves them, according to one employee. They set goals for the quarter, not for the year: for Google a year is forever. They want results faster. They pay those who deliver, they get results faster, and the world stands back in awe wondering how they do it.

If you are attempting complex engineering-type changes, then a month’s planning horizon is too short. But as Google are perhaps demonstrating, a year may be too long.

Your planning/review horizon is important – whatever the time period - as is the seriousness with which you review it. Your progress vis a vis your competitors may depend on it.

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