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The Business Forum
Plus ca Change,
Plus C'est la Meme Chose
By Henry H. Goldman
was recently asked to prepare a series of workshops on the specific
topic of "Strategic Planning" for a client in Kenya, West Africa. I
duly prepared a two-day seminar stressing the important inputs needed
for effective planning, the resources required, the responsibility of
senior management, etc. I offered an additional half-day program on
"Strategic Agility," to round out the material and make it more useful
to the company.
Shortly after I dispatched the information to Africa, I received an
e-mail from an East Coast based consultant on a very similar subject.
He is a very experienced and well known subject matter expert with
specific knowledge in marketing consulting services and allied
information. He had just added more material to his Strategic Planning
courses. I was most impressed with the new subject matter. He had
added two brand new topics, ones with which I was unfamiliar. With my
program already sent, it became very important to me that I had to
research my colleague's new course material and see if it might also fit
into my courses. He had integrated "Disciplined Execution" and
"Evidence-Based Management" into an overall exploration of the typical
"Strategic Planning" concept.
My research into these "new" concepts
proved to be quite interesting, hence the title of this piece: "The More
Things Change, the More They Stay the Same." I have been a student of
"Strategic Planning" since meeting the late UCLA professor George A.
Steiner whose book, Strategic Planning: What Every Manager Must Know
 became my strategic "bible." With Steiner's help, I
became a part-time teacher of the subject and was able to use the
concepts in my consulting practice. These "new" aspects of strategic
planning had already been covered by Steiner, some thirty years ago.
What we have is "old wine in new
bottles." Please do not misunderstand me, I am not suggesting that
these "new" elements of planning are not important, I am suggesting that
they are simply not new. But, it is true that each new innovation
within and complimentary to Strategic Planning demands "a number of more
sophisticated programs and initiatives. Each of these newer ideas
represent a change in management style or, in some cases, a change in
corporate culture" or both. Samples of the changes triggered by these
additions to the Strategic Planning "library" include, but are not
limited to the following:
Company cultural change
·Continuous measurable improvement
Cycle time reduction
Vendor, supplier integration.
Since it is quite likely that the newer
elements will become a part of Strategic Planning, Strategic Agility
from now on, I have already revised my workshops so as to identify by
name, the areas to which they apply. I suggest that each of us must
continually redefine ourselves to insure that our materials are
up-to-date, even if it is only a change in name or focus, rather than an
entirely new concept.
Henry H. Goldman. "Total Quality as a Change Tool," in Holger
Nauheimer, ed., Taking Stock: A Survey on the Practice and Future of
Change Management, p. 129. Berlin, Germany: 2005.
Henry H. Goldman
a Fellow of The Business Forum Institute and is the Managing Director of the Goldman Nelson Group. Henry got
his Masters Degree at the University of Iowa and did his Doctoral
Studies at the University of Southern California. He is a
Certified Professional Consultant to Management (CPCM); and has
published numerous articles in trade journals and was Associate
Editor of Taking Stock: A Survey on the Practice and Future of
Change Management (Berlin, Germany). He is a member of the
American Society for Training and Development (ASTD); Association of
Professional Consultants (APC) and the Institute of Management
Consultants (IMC). Henry has consulted and/or offered training in
South Africa, Tanzania, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau,
Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Barbados, Georgia, Kosovo,
Tajikistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and of
course North America. He has also taught at Baker University:
Lee’s Summit, MO, 2008, Adjunct Professor of International Business;
National Graduate School: Falmouth, MA, 2004-2008, Adjunct Professor
of Quality Management; California State University: Fullerton,
2005-2006, Lecturer on Taxation; University of California: Berkeley,
2002, Adjunct Professor of Management; University of Macau (China),
Adjunct Professor of Management, 2001-2003.
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