Significance of future management
Long-term decisions on direction, whether made consciously or unconsciously, determine how a company invests, competes, works and makes decisions. These decisions are reflected in plant, software systems, structures and the corporate culture. None of these can be changed quickly within a few months. You commit yourself for ten years or more in some cases.
If you ask any audience how much of a company’s success depends on the long-term course that has been set, you interestingly always hear the same answer of around seventy percent. No one can measure, let alone prove this figure, but there is obviously a good feel for the huge importance of future management. Even if it is only fifty or sixty percent, it is a significant determinant of success.
It now becomes interesting to check how much time top decision makers actually spend consciously and systematically thinking about exactly these major decisions on strategic direction. According to research by the American professors Hamel and Prahalad, top managers spend no more than 2.4 percent of their time working on the vision. Two to three percent of their working time is equivalent to 5.5 to 6.0 working days per year in most countries.
Not that that is insufficient, in most cases it is enough. However, the relationship between time and benefit clearly shows what a strong lever conscious future management represents. In the same way that this leverage effect can create great success with little effort, you can easily ruin a company with poor future management. The quality of its future management has a decisive effect on whether a company prospers or fails.