Proactive-reactive-plan-300x300We’ve talked about mitigating risk and overcoming challenges, but there are multiple ways to plan for those challenges. To be as efficient as possible is to plan as effectively as possible. If  you can’t put a stop to revenue and profit surprises, all of the hard, earnest planning, process development and resource and technology investments that go into your corporate initiatives could be wasted. Those outcomes can be especially painful given the unpredictable economy. Effective use of your time and resources is essential.

The current business environment is riddled with uncertainty and challenges that demand your time to plan, forecast and solve. Leading organizations are meeting today’s challenges by perfecting their planning strategies–moving from reactive to proactive. The past can offer your business a ton of insight. Even better, it can answer a lot of questions you may have with your present challenges. But haven’t people been telling you “you can’t change the past” for as long as you can remember? For your organization to be as successful as possible, you have to look ahead and focus on the future. That is why proactive planning offers the most effective insight.

Most companies spend too little time on strategic planning and target setting and too much time on creating multiple iterations of budgets that is outdated by the end of the first quarter. A proactive planning strategy and solution uses the past to create a predictive analysis of the future, alerting you of most challenges before they attack your business. With anticipatory, focused plans, decision making is improved in all functions of your organization because team members respond rapidly to change with confidence. Forecasting should be concerned with what the future will look like, planning should be concerned with what the future should look like. Stop focusing on overly-detailed budgets and reports and start focusing and turn them into a predictive analysis of key operational drives and trends for coming years, providing value to your decision making.