Intelligence is a potent weapon to those who possess it. Without intelligence human beings simply become at par with the animals. It is intelligence that sets human being distant from all other species. It has its special and unique purpose in each individual.
History tells us that the ancient Greeks won their battles not because of brute strength and superior weaponry but by fighting intelligently. Instead of fighting one man to one man, they fought as a team, rendering the opposing forces doomed. They used intelligent offense. The ancient Romans also won their battles by fighting intelligently. They designed segmented armor that was light, strong and flexible. They surmised that survival on the battlefield was the key to victory. They used intelligent defense.
Intelligent planning and strategy is the ability to acquire knowledge, the ability to apply that knowledge into a detailed proposal that can be used in the art of planning and directing the overall forces of business and organizations to its desired purposes. Intelligent planning is part acquisition (information gathering), part application (information analysis) and part planning and directing (intelligent planning and strategy).
Not all plans and strategies may be intelligent. Some plans may just be information, arranged in order to look like a plan. Some strategies may look like one but devoid of its artistic element, the directing and planning through the maze of uncertainties.
Plans and strategies that are intelligent are those that produce positive results in business or organization. But more than the results plans and strategies that are intelligent are those that warn business or organizations of traps and loose ends on the business highway.
Preventing Instant Surprises
An elemental strategy in military planning is the ambush. Relying on the element of surprise, small and ill-equipped personnel somehow may manage to inflict such terrible losses to whole army battalions and divisions. The same principle may happen in a similar fashion in business. Whole industries in Asia and America were literally ambushed and surprised by the sudden flood of cheap products from China; it took certain legislation to put it into check.
Intelligent planning and strategy certainly can and will prevent such nightmares. The ability of business or organization to acquire data and to analyze such data accurately and in the opportune time is what intelligent planning and strategy is all about. Textile manufacturers in Asia who acquired data and analyzed data about the emerging textile manufacturing revolution in China were quick to more out of the ambush. They had either outsourced their production to China or they had moved on to another area in the same industry. The not so quick were all dead. Hundreds textile factories across Asia closed shop due to the unimaginable surprise, very low price with acceptable quality. They simply cannot compete when their costs were way above the selling price of the China product.
Instant surprises can be prevented in an atmosphere where intelligent planning and strategy is always present. But even then, because of the complexities of the business arena, some erstwhile surprises may just get through. But the good thing is that business or organizations that have adequate information and analyses on their industries and on the playing field as a whole are able to quickly select business weaponry out of their arsenal.
Preventing Long Term Losses
What business or organizations fear the most is not losses incurred in an accounting period, but what they fear are long-term losses. It is difficult if not altogether impossible to recover from a long-term loss. By that time, business or organizations resources have been bled dry and outsiders would just be too happy to look, not to help. Financial institutions and venture capitalists would be hesitant to revive such business or organizations for the simple reason that success no longer is in its favor.
Long-term losses are the result of short-term losses “instant surprises that the business or organizations experience over time. Intelligent planning and strategy dictates that short-term losses must be corrected immediately so that it does not transform itself to long-term ones.
A classic example is the airline providers in island nations of Asia and even in the Americas. It is common knowledge that water transportation is cheap but it is slow. Then came the fast crafts, twin-hulled catamarans with speeds up to 40 knots and with interiors like that of airplanes, charging a third of the airline rate. The result was an initial short-term loss but many airline providers assumed that customers would patronize the airline again due to a respectable time differential. They allowed such losses to become long-term ones. This has resulted in the rerouting of many airline routes if not the bankruptcy of many small airline providers.
The prevention of long-term losses is the backbone of intelligent planning and strategy. Intelligent planning and strategy is not so much concerned about the short-term although that is extremely important. But intelligent planning and strategy is concerned much more with the long term; that the business or organization can steer itself towards the future, in good financial health, and prepared because it has done its homework.
Providing Timely Alternatives
When business or organizations have been caught by surprise and they have suffered a mix of short-term and long-term losses it can be a difficult time to search for timely and appropriate alternative choices of action. They may get caught up putting the fire in one room and not notice that other fires have started in different departments in the business or organization.
The design of timely alternatives is the specialty of intelligent planning and strategy. Intelligent planning and strategy assumes and anticipates that there will be problems, there will be surprises, and there will be short-term losses. As such, an alternative is already prepared for any conceivable eventuality that business or organizations may encounter in a given period that is included in its intelligent planning and strategy.
For problems involving accounts receivable and cash flow, the intelligent planning and strategy team may pre-select and pre-transact with banks and financial institutions so that when these eventualities occur, no time is lost.
For problems that may involve business or organizational personnel, an outsource partner in the temporary job industry might be prepared in advance in case some personnel figure out in an accident or illness.
For problems that may involve distribution of goods, a pool of outsource partners might be on standby to prevent the stoppage of the flow of goods to customers and potential customers.
In instances when the alternatives might seem to be elusive or unforeseen, the team or group of people involved in intelligent planning and strategy should be on call to brainstorm for the solution or alternative. Time is always of the essence in such circumstances. An armed conflict might arise in a territory where the business or organization has a strong presence and these may place it in a position of uncertainty. Alternatives have to be drawn in the shortest possible time.
Question upon question have to be asked in order that all possible alternatives might come to the fore. Questions like: is the present government in danger? Is the opposing party friendly? Is the conflict manageable? Is shutting down an option? Intelligent planning and strategy is and will be the only alternative that is timely.