How to prepare for the unknown future

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Mark Lee interviews Stephen Harvard Davis who believes that business owners should stop trying to plan too far ahead and focus instead on the future they don’t yet know.

ML:  Stephen, you work with restructured teams to make them more productive. Last time we spoke you explained how accountants can avoid mistakes when recruiting partners into the firm. Recently I’ve heard you talk about how businesses should be preparing for the future they don’t yet know. What does this mean and why should accountants be interested?

SHD: We’ve all noticed that corporate history is littered with examples of businesses caught flat-footed by changes that they failed to appreciate before it was too late. The rate of science, technology and connectivity is accelerating at such a pace that news from another country, competitor or customer can have immediate implications for us. This speed of change means that our old planning and analysis tools may be insufficient to keep pace with those shifts.

ML: Are you saying that business plans and budgets are no longer effective tools?

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