Diageo

It’s the busiest time of our year. Like for many of you, our Christmas selling period is critical and sets the tone for what we have to deliver in our second half.

It is also the time when we are in the thick of looking to the future. Our overall business and our individual brands each set about thinking about the new year and the road ahead. While most people are thinking about how to survive Christmas, I’m thinking of how to survive what I like to call ‘the planning season’. Here are my top five tips for those in a similar position over the coming weeks.

1. Recognise people’s different thinking styles. In this busy time, my brain doesn’t stop whirring. Ideas and information form a constellation-like moving picture in my mind’s eye as we frame opportunities and make choices. I experience the ambiguity as a physical sensation, and the connections appear to me suddenly like visions. I need space for this, but others need interaction to catalyse what we need to do and how we need to do it. Create an environment that will get the best out of the individuals in your team and you’ve won half the battle.

2. Remember things are rarely as sequential as they may seem. Planning breakthroughs come from understanding the past, being in the moment, and having the knack of envisaging and reforming…