Organisational Change Management Volume 2

Managing the Horizons

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. In looking ahead, what percentage of your time will you spend talking about long-term plans (3 to 5 years) as against plans for next month or quarter?

. The above diagram shows a person looking toward at the horizon. There are 4 plausible horizons for your organisation's future (Horizons 1 and 2 are the more immediate aspirations, while Horizons 3 and 4 are longer-term). Each has implications for your current strategy, ie Horizon 1 involves immediate issues like profitability and cash flow in the short-term. Pressures on these immediate issues can have significant impact on the longer-term aspirations and horizons. There is a temptation to fall back to the immediate issues and ignore the ramifications of the longer-term horizons.

. There can be a range of futures - from next quarter to years later- with a divergence in views. Generally, people with a predominantly short-term focus are cautious and they may miss long-term opportunities and directions as they try to solve the immediate problems. On the other hand, those with long-term perspectives may have trouble keeping track of resources and immediate business results. If both views are seen as legitimate, the 2 groups can work together in a complementary approach.

. The basis for an organisation's horizon need not be static. It can evolve over time.

(source: Bryan Smith, 1999)

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