This month’s blog and newsletter topic is “unintended consequences.” When a company reacts to events in the environment or the marketplace without examining those events for themselves, that reaction can have consequences. The usual excuse for them is, “We didn’t intend those consequences—they were unintended.”

A leader’s job is to avoid such consequences. This is done through a leader’s primary function: analysis, prediction and planning. The final step of these is planning.


Get First Steps Properly Done

In today’s business environment, people are doing less planning than they’ve done in the past. A very good reason for this is that they haven’t done the proper analysis and prediction steps.

Today’s business environment is quite unstable. Half-true and sometimes even untrue information can be passed along from media source to media source and, if acted upon, can cause damage. It is nearly impossible to operate in an environment in which reliable analysis has not been done and, at best where reliable analysis cannot be successfully accomplished.

That is why the analysis step is so vital! Data must be checked and verified with at least two sources, as covered thoroughly in our article on analysis in this newsletter. Once a data source is verified as reliable, you should keep it, but always double-check the information. That is the only way to steer clear of unreliable data.

With analysis adequately done and in hand, accurate prediction can be made. A business can look forward in its field and market with some confidence and predict changes and events that affect it. Even when reports that seem to conflict with your analysis appear, you can confidently progress with your prediction because you have accomplished an accurate analysis.

As given in our last article on the subject of prediction, you can add to any prediction that there will always be alarming reports from the media and elsewhere that, if your analysis isn’t solid, will throw uncertainty into your company and its operations. You can always count on such reports appearing, so they must always be part and parcel of your prediction.


Then Comes Planning

Planning is like a stable highway for a business to travel on to its intended destination: continued business success. When planning is correctly done, it makes for a nice smooth ride. Adjustments must be made from time to time, but for the most part, it can proceed as intended.

Only with appropriate analysis and prediction correctly and thoroughly done can planning be reliably accomplished. If planning is attempted without having these two steps completed, media reports, market reports and even rumors can interrupt planning and cause a business to change direction and, in many cases, not even complete the planning.

Going back to our highway analogy, analysis and prediction could be likened to the edges of the road, giving it direction and stability. Without those first two steps, that highway can take your business off into the wilderness of unintended consequences—where, as we’ve covered earlier, many companies wind up today.

Only engage in planning that comes as the last stage following analysis and prediction from factual data—and reach that destination of success!

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