Too many people and organisations don’t have an accurate, trusted picture of the future or a consistent understanding of what business as usual (BAU) means. This leads to problems, as perception and subjectivity project the wrong version of tomorrow.
This is not a good place for anyone, unfortunately it can be too easy to continue in this place and accept “it’s too hard to create an accurate view and reacting to changes is all part of the job”. So, what needs to be done?
Is this normal? Is this Business as Usual (BAU) or do we need to do something different? The big question is: Does everyone have the same understanding of business as usual? It’s an overused expression with an assumed meaning “it’s BAU!”, but what does this mean and does everyone understand? I’ve often heard Team Leaders, Operational Managers and Planning Managers all say “they should know what to do, it’s BAU” but when questioned if they have ever defined this, or if they’d be happy to be tested if everyone has the same understanding, will admit that differences and interpretations will exist. As a quick test ask, “How do you define busy?” and wait for the variety of answers to come back, along with “it depends” (which of course it does). Unless you have defined thresholds for busy and quiet periods, you will always get differences of opinions. From this starting point create easy to understand control limits and triggers to alert advisors, team leaders and operational leads of changes to the original plan. Continue to develop understanding of BAU by working with key stakeholders at different levels of the business. This will lead to a trust between them and yourselves in Planning, and ultimately a confidence in the plan and working practices.
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First published in the 2019 Best Practice Guide