SOURCE: Robert Simpkins

October 16, 2008 13:48 ET

New Book by Robert Simpkins Confirms That Weak Corporate Strategies and Lack of Contingency Plans Lead to Poor Decision-Making in Times of Crises

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - October 16, 2008) - In his newly released book, "Not Another Pretty Binder: Strategic Planning That Actually Works," organizational consultant Robert A. Simpkins warns leaders that one reason they are facing difficult times today and struggling to make solid decisions about their future is due to short-changing their strategic planning process and forgetting to include serious contingency plans that would help them overcome obstacles.

"Many companies in crisis today would not be there had they taken the time in the first place to do quality strategic planning, communicate their plans to their employees and other constituents, measure results against their plan and develop flexible contingency plans for unforeseeable crises," Simpkins explains. "In other words, do it right or don't waste everyone's time." His new book, published by HRD Press and co-authored by Behnaz S. Paknejad, is a step-by-step primer for leaders of all types of organizations on how to develop, communicate and measure effective strategic and contingency plans. (Visit for more background.)

Given today's economic crisis, Simpkins advises that, "Companies rushing to shore up operations, change direction and/or merge with other firms should first examine their own strategic plans and conduct a SWOT on their operations and that of their potential partners. This is the only way they will know for sure if a merger makes the most sense."

SWOT, an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, is a process that was developed 30 years ago and is still an effective tool today. According to Simpkins, it brings order to informational overload, clarification to vague assumptions, and measurability to one's short-term performance improvement and long-term transformational action plans.

"When you look at what's happening today, we've forgotten that visionary strategies need to be linked clearly to the day-to-day operations of any enterprise," he said. "Everybody involved in achieving goals must know exactly how his or her contribution fits into the overall strategy."

Some of the other key messages in "Not Another Pretty Binder: Strategic Planning That Actually Works" include:

--  There is no such thing as separate strategic and operational plans;
    they are two equal components of the same plan.
--  Leadership is responsible for communicating, in straightforward terms,
    their strategic plans throughout the organization so that everyone knows
    his/her personal contribution and accountability for the plan.
--  Leaders need to be held accountable for adjusting the plan as the
    increasingly rapid pace of change alters the context in which they are
    deploying their plan.

To do so, they must know, with reasonable and realistic clarity, the following points among others:

--  Where is the organization now and how did it get there?
--  Where does it need to go (short and long-term) and how fast does it
    need to move to get there?
--  What is changing in the current internal and external environments
    that might impact the plan?
--  What trends might alter the future value of the plan?
--  How can all of the above be measured and tracked?

Robert A. Simpkins, ( president of Global Crosswinds, LLC, is an international advisor and trainer. He helps corporate, non-profit, government and military leaders develop and communicate realistic, actionable and adaptable strategic plans that create breakthroughs and achieve competitive goals and objectives. Mr. Simpkins has advised on, and deployed, performance improvement initiatives in more than 49 countries and across the United States for such organizations as Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, Dell, Inc., Pfizer, Telebras and Telesp (Brasil), PAK 2000, Lucent Technologies, PT Telekomunikasi (Indonesia), EgytpTel (Egypt), Kodak, Diebold, Kenneth Cole Fashions, United States Department of Justice, United States Army Special Forces, NASA, and many more. He is the author of several articles in prestigious journals and frequently speaks in front of international groups. His previous book, "Secrets of Great Sales Management: Strategies for Enhanced Performance" (AMACOM), was voted among the top 12 business best-seller books in 2004. He can be reached at

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