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Last time I talked about good outcomes that are not the result of good decisions and how good decisions do not always lead to good outcomes. Here a personal case. Here a personal example.

A few years ago I was working at a client and I had to catch a late afternoon flight. I calculated that I had to leave 1.5 hrs before departure time and that would have given me 15 minutes slack time. When I had to leave my work at the client was not finished yet. So I decided to finish it, 20 minutes extra. I would catch up the other 5 minutes easily. Once I finished the work, the taxi was not there yet and I left 30 minutes later than planned AND there was more traffic. The result was that is arrived at the gate 5 minutes to departure time. Normally they close the gate appx. 15 minutes before departure but guess what? I could still board the plane as the last passenger. The flight was delayed by 10 minutes or so. The airplane landed on time at my destination.

The point here is that the outcome for me was perfect. I finished my work at the client, I did not have to wait at the airport and the plane landed on-time. Should I do it ever again? NO. It was a bad decision not to leave as planned. I should never have done that. I was just lucky.

Sometimes outcomes are determined irrespective of any decision taken. Think about Covid-19. Many businesses are impacted by Covid 19. On the positive side you have business in online shopping, video conferencing and pharmaceutical companies that produce vaccines. On the flip side you have airlines, hotels, restaurants, etc. who lost almost all their business. All these companies have one thing in common. In the basis they did not take any decision to get these better or worse outcomes. It just happened. In the margin they can take decisions to avoid bad becoming worse. Or to turn good into better or best. That is where EPM could help. So there are circumstances where you have no or very little influence on the outcomes.

Take another example. Ski resorts rely mostly on the weather conditions in the winter season for a good or bad season. There is not much you can do to influence the weather and by that the outcome. You can tune in the margin by having snow making facilities in place but it is limited and not comparable with the real thing. Other more manmade environments like trade agreements could also have a huge impact on the performance and outcomes. Once the agreement is in place trade conditions are a given for the short term. It could benefit or hurt your business. Some indirect influence in the margin is possible via lobbying. But that is about it. Long term you can take decisions to adapt of course.

The above shows that in certain settings there are Key Performance Indicators, KPIs, that you can not influence. And in those situations Enterprise Performance Management will help to navigate but the destination when you leave is not known. EPM can help you to predict and adjust when needed.

Please contact us if you want to know more. In the next post I will share my personal challenges with intuition versus big data. Stay tuned.

Post Author: Frank van Vliet

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