I have long said that the time for long-term planning is over. It simply no longer works given how fast our society is changing and social media is more and more controlling how we do things. I would argue that Corona put the last nail in the coffin.
It is the setting that changes
The long-term planning in the sense that everything is in place with all the steps on the way to the goal for a long time to come no longer works. Of course it is still possible to plan and of course I think that planning is necessary to move forward. What changes is the attitude and perspective on how it is best to think if you build something long-term, which we mostly do. The attitude to planning needs to be set at a different level than before. Planning is still a guide but it is not the whole map anymore. It is not a clear compass in the same way but more like a fingerprint.
That it is not a clear map does not have to be negative. It gives more room for spontaneity and flexibility, which makes daily life more fun to live. I often hear that planning is difficult because it frames too much. I do not agree with that, but now it feels like that argument is becoming even more untenable than before.
Five years is a long way off
Now that a pandemic has taken over the world, it becomes very clear that, for example, five years ahead is a very long time. Right now it is difficult to know what will happen in a week. And yes, this is an extreme situation and we will return to a new form of normal in a well-functioning society. Of course it is, but as a planning expert I see new trends right now. I see entrepreneurs who make a plan for the coming week or for the coming month for more than that do not work. I see a society that is trying to think long-term but that cannot answer questions about tomorrow. And how can we even think about making a five-year or ten-year plan?
How are you going to think now then?
How are you going to think now then? You can still have a plan. It is the road there that is more difficult to stake out as it looks now. You can still have a vision, a goal image, that is far in the future. I would probably say that you should have a vision. You can define how you want, for example, your brand or how your career should have developed in the future. You can still make an analysis of which strategy is best for you to move forward. And you can produce your core values that you stick to on the way to where you are going. All of this is usually part of a long-term plan so you do not have to rethink completely. What you need to change is your attitude to what steps you should take. The famous milestones may still remain, but you must be prepared to change your path several times over. The vision, the goal, you hold on to.
Genuineness and honesty always win
Genuineness and honesty are always good starting points, whether it is about your personal development, career goals or building a personal brand online. If you start from yourself when you reach your goals, it will be right in the end. It really is that simple. As soon as you move away from your core values or shake up your honesty, you will start slipping around and creating anxiety for you and those involved.
Was it confusing now? It is okay. It’s confusing to me too. I figure out a lot about how to think now. I have two companies that will have a plan for the future and a plan for me and my personal development. Also some thoughts about my family and everyday life. There are many pieces to be put in place and I have never been as confused and ignorant as I am right now.
What then? Well, the classic acceptance. Manage what you can control and let what feels too difficult to do something wait until the situation is more stable and you can start looking around the corner a little more. Try to rest in the fact that the current world situation will not last forever.