Sunday, March 8, 2009

Future Histories

Typical of its down-to-earth management ethos, NetApp early on ditched a travel policy a dozen ­pages long in favor of this maxim: "We are a frugal company. But don't show up dog-tired to save a few bucks. Use your common sense." Rather than business plans, many units write "future histories," imagining where their business will be a year or two out. - NetApp profile, Fortune Best Companies to Work for 2009
Conceptually (to me), writing a future history makes a lot more sense than writing a strategic or business plan for a company/operating unit. Essentially you are trying to forecast the future, but writing a future history resonates with me as a much more elegant way to think about where you want to take a business.

A plan implies (to me) concreteness, rules, and details. A future history implies (to me) broad themes, major accomplishments, and vision. When thinking about the future, I don't want to get lost in the details, I want to define a future vision and goals to accomplish.

I'd really like to see some working examples of them, but can't find any on the web. Any suggestions?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess the mission/vision statements companies have are a very diluted version of "future histories."

...I don't know of any real examples though.

Sunday, March 8, 2009