John O'Neill declared:
>The backward option only works if _someone_else_ has defined the goal for
>you. What happens in situations where there is no pre-defined goal? Examples
>- what will our international relationships look like in the year 2000?
>- what force structure capabilities will we require to deal with these
>- what are future possible threat scenarios?
>- what planning do we need to take to combat these threat scenarios?
>Each of these examples requires starting from where you are today and
>projecting forward (and obviously as you work through the details you end
>up flipping "backwards" and "forwards" as you work through the planning
On the contrary, John, I think the backward option works best if YOU
define the goal. There are no situations "where there is no pre-defined
goal." The goal lurks in the form of an unexamined mental model.
In the "jargon" of the learning organization, what we are speaking of here
is "shared vision", and the sense that planning is meaningful only in the
context of a shared vision.
For nearly fifty years the US and the Soviet Union "planned forward",
projecting trend lines from the "present situation" and asking exactly the
questions you framed for us. Events have proved that neither country
accurately predicted the future, and the cost to both nations and all the
peoples of the world has been staggering. If, instead, representatives
from both countries had sat down and asked "what would we like the world
to look like in 2000?", there would have been serious differences - but
there would have been huge areas of agreement. The two governments could
then have asked, "what actions do we need to take between now and then to
make such an outcome likely?"
I know this all sounds pollyanna-ish, and I would have pooh-poohed it at
the time... but now I'm not so sure. Believers in realpolitik will say
neither side could be trusted to be truthful or to act in good faith, to
which I say: "How would we like our government to act?, and what steps
can *I* take to help close the gap?"
-- Jack Hirschfeld With the clear undertanding that firstname.lastname@example.org this kind of thing can happen, shall we dance?