2020 has compelled us to respond to societal challenges like never before. But knowing how to respond in the most effective way can be difficult and daunting, especially when the challenge ahead is seemingly unparalleled.
We asked British Army Major, and expert in military contingency planning, Nick Barton to share his thoughts and learnings, on how these tried and tested military tactics may be applied to the business sector.
“Response and crisis planning, by its nature, is going to be pressurised due to the large amount of change often within a short timeframe.” explains Nick. “A planning process gives structure to an organisation’s response. Often there are several ways of achieving your goal. The key is to choose the best plan with the time and resources available.”
Nick has created a handy ten stage Guide To Effective Planning. Drawing on all his experience and training from his military career, this practical, step-by-step guide distills leading crisis response thinking from the British Military. Nick’s Guide takes you on a journey of how to plan, what actions are required at each stage of planning and what the outputs should be.
Designed to compliment the Business Fights Poverty COVID-19 Response Framework and the Rebuild Better Framework . The Guide forms part of the Business Fights Poverty – Business & COVID-19 Response Centre. Where the Frameworks support organisations in their decision-making, this guide helps plan out what to do, how, where and when. Though this guide can be applied in a number of different planning scenarios, it is specifically tailored to assist with navigating planning during crisis; when traditional corporate planning processes may take too long or require too many certainties.
The Guide is easily translatable for any organisation and scenario. Delivered with bite-sized learning points, key outputs and background references for further detail, it will help anyone, regardless of their previous experience or business role, to plan better.
As Nick outlines in the Guide,
“The recent context of a global pandemic has created characteristics of fear, uncertainty, pressure and exponential change. These characteristics are familiar to what the Armed Forces can experience on operations.”
“The military tries to tailor its training and assessments to ensure that its personnel thrive under these demanding conditions. In particular, it focuses on an organisation’s ability to plan and execute operations. The force that can react more quickly to a situation is likely to seize the initiative”, Nick adds.
The ten point process, which is outlined in the diagram below provides the basis for effective planning and is especially relevant in crisis scenarios:
This Guide To Effective Planning is based on Nick’s experience as a Chief of Staff of a Joint Aviation Taskforce on exercises in NATO and on operations as an Apache Squadron Commander in Afghanistan. It is his synthesis of the key parts of what is taught and assessed within military training.
Nick concludes: “No plan survives contact with the enemy. Things will go wrong. Events
will not turn out as you predicted. Expect this. With luck, the steps included in this guide will help your plan to arrive at an 80% solution, and you will be able to assess, adjust and adapt accordingly.”