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Uncertain Business Climate Makes Strategic Facility Planning More Important Than Ever

By Stormy Friday - July 2013 - Facilities Management


Facility management organizations are caught on the horns of a dilemma when it comes to strategic facility planning. On the one hand, they have visions for a desired facility management operational state and want to create strategies to get there. On the other hand, they struggle to keep pace with day-to-day activities required to keep their organizations afloat, as their companies function in an external environment fraught with political unrest, volatile economic conditions, and changing social values that alter core work cultures.

Given the situation described above, many facility managers opt out of strategic planning these days in favor of just coping with the idiosyncrasies of their corporate environment. They do not believe planning results in strategies with staying power, so they decide it is not worth the time and attention for purely a planning exercise and an end product that sits idle on a shelf. A real business case example from the world of technology, however, seems to put the relevance of strategic planning in perspective.

Consider what happened at Apple. After suffering the loss of one of the world's most astoundingly creative CEOs, Steve Jobs, Apple was able to generate a global frenzy surrounding the unveiling of its iPhone 5. Upon further analysis, it wasn't even the advent of new technology that created such hype about the product; it was a carefully crafted marketing strategy about the culture of customers that would be interested in the latest smart phone. Believers in the iPhone culture worldwide camped out for days waiting for the latest and greatest phone from a company that is viewed in marketing terms as a "strategically-positioned innovator." While much of the credit for Apple's historical success has to be given to Jobs, the creative spirit behind Apple, even more impressive is the corporate legacy he left behind. He established a corporate atmosphere at Apple where strategic planning, alignment, and execution are premier, long-lasting concepts and these concepts have withstood a global marketplace of uncertainty.

Still unconvinced that strategic planning is relevant?

What's Needed Today

Modern writers about strategic planning acknowledge that the thought process associated with strategic planning as we have known it will not provide the right foundation for survival in the future. What they all agree on, however, is that the concept of strategic planning is more relevant now in our current uncertain business climate than when the business climate was more predictable. From their perspective, strategic planning allows organizations to have input into the management of their own destinies rather than accepting a future someone else creates for them; thus it has tremendous appeal in an otherwise murky business climate.





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