The statements above come from McKinsey in March 2017 writing about strategic planning. How come? People are overly confident and optimistic, and informed people are even more confident (1). No one was ever promoted for putting forward a plan whose growth forecasts didn’t sail upwards? (2). Executives constantly tell themselves that they need an ambitious vision to inspire great performance (3). But when the strategy outcome is not realized after the first year, attribution bias usually kicks in: one simply blames the circumstances or others, but never oneself.
In our daily strategic intelligence practices, we regularly list several Key Predictive Indicators (KPIs) to see what the near future might tell us. This is not forecasting. It is, however, based on delivering perspectives going beyond the brutal facts, by creating crucial foresight and early warning. Our governments, banks, the European Commission, national forecast institutes and our uncritical media tell us that we can expect economic growth. We don’t believe this! Our early warning analyses indicate the opposite.
The digital revolution is underway with the biggest hotel chain Airbnb that doesn’t even own a single hotel room, and Uber, the biggest taxi-company that doesn’t even own a single car. The value-chain as we know it will change and be replaced by service-offering systems. This has already happened with the telecom, travel and music sectors. During the next 10 years some 70% of jobs will disappear!
Do you recognize this statement? Think also about the Key Performance Indicators in your organizations, which are seen by management as essential tools telling them if their business is on target or veering off course. They are still, however, also tools for measurement. What should we think of these Key Predictive Indicators?