Rational, Emotive, Cognitive & Behavioural (RECB) Business (and Life?) Planning

October 22, 2016

method1As a Business Consultant and advisor I often found myself caught between the different entrepreneurial stances to planning. Some entrepreneurs like the idea of a detailed, full and complete planning others, seemingly ‘fly from the seat of their pants’ casting off the constraints and effort involved as ‘too time consuming and restrictive’.

The great strategic management guru, Mintzberg, termed the first approach ‘Rational Planning’ – ‘Set your mission, identify your critical success factors (and measures), analyse your environment (SWOT), choose your best approach (strategy) implement it (take action) and feedback on progress (control)’ he lectured. It makes good, logical sense.

I call the latter one ‘Reactive’, not unlike the ‘Behavioural Response’ the psychologists Skinner (stimulus leads to response) and Pavlov (the bell driven salivating dog) describe to us. It goes like this – something happens in the business (‘ding’) and the entrepreneur responds (‘dong’).  I guess they are not really planning just reacting!

My experience has taught me that two further planning positions or entrepreneurial types exist between these extremes:

  1. Those who concentrate or focus on just on a few ‘Critical Drivers’ when planning their business. I term this ‘Cognitive Planners’. This saves time, but benefits from a degree of rational evaluation of what is important to the business (I mean, of course the egotistical entrepreneur!)
  2. That ego is not necessary a bad thing; it has often been honed through experience and instinct that means the ‘opportunist’ is not lucky, but simply confident in responding to their ‘Gut Instinct’ – I term these ‘Emotional Planners’.

This worked for me because as an executive coach, business psychologist and consultant, I was able to link my own  psychological research and RECB (Rational Emotive Cognitive Behavioural) and approach directly into tailoring the business planning intervention that best works for my client. Neither of the four approaches is any better than they other. The efficacy depends on context and the risk profile and ways of the entrepreneur.

It has worked for them and my suspicion (and further research focus) is how such an approach can support us all in understanding how we approach risks in and planning of our lives.



To Brexit – and Beyond!

October 9, 2016


“The empty raincoat is, to me, the symbol of our most pressing paradox. If economic progress means that we become anonymous cogs in some great machine, then progress is an empty promise. The challenge must be to show how paradox can be managed”

‘Just telling them about yourself and what you will do in the community!’ came the response to my question ‘what shall I say about English life 2020 onwards?’

‘Ahhhh….’ I pondered as I looked at great and the good with whom I would share a stage; a Conservative MEP, a president of the British Chamber of Commerce, a migrant County councillor and two EU grant funded University lecturers. Yours truly brought up the rear.

Being in such salubrious company, I further pondered what I had of merit to say about myself, which I posed to my friends. ‘Tell them you are generally a good egg, grandfather, business lecturer, executive coach and a volunteer with trauma victims. So I did, linking those aspects of me to my concern to see the future unfold safely for all of us, be it young, fair to middling or old.

In that vein, I went on to talk about the great social philosopher Charles Handy who (in his book the ‘Empty Raincoat’) predicted that we would have three careers:

  1. Firstly, one in which we make our money (I was a CEO, I explained)
  2. Secondly, where we follow our passion (I am a lecturer, coach and therapist)
  3. Finally, how we make good use of ourselves in retirement (I am in training to be a Bournemouth Deckchair attendant – but I won’t work Bank Holidays, or weekends, or in the summer – I will, however, do double shifts in January!)

My real point was, that for me, ‘2020 and Beyond’ has to undeniably be about our youth, cushioned with in the wisdom that us, ‘wanna-be elders’ can bring to the table. We best do that by not being a burden on our society, by doing work that shares that wisdom (or brings rest and respite to the weary) and in encouraging them with hope.

Which we can do, because the forecast are that for the UK employment will grow, the Government will do less of it, and more of us will be self-employed or on close to zero contract hours. The youth will be far more responsible for themselves than my generation was – it will be ‘their gig!’.

UK Employment  TRENDS:

    • Grow in 2025 by 3m to 37m
    • Public Sector fall to 4.5m (from 6m)
    • Micro Business Grow to 7m plus (from 4m) – ‘It’s My Gig’
    • 3m Knowledge Workers
    • 4m Contingent Workers*

My suggestion from this was that: Those working for themselves will be a ‘powerful economic & political force’ and will demand:

    • Tax & Administrative Burden Cuts
    • Welfare needs to match their Work Life Balance
    • Being part of a COMMUNION

And concluded that can be achieved locally through ‘Community Hubs’ that deliver:

COMMUNION – through the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings by having:

    • Good Conversations
    • Personal Development – Fit for Life
    • Business Development – Fit for Purpose
    • Training
    • Advice

Leaving them ‘COMMON, UNITED & COLLOBORATING’. It felt like a good future – see here http://www.communityhub.live. There need not be a paradox.