Performing strategic planning is not the same thing as planning strategically. This is never clearer to me than in multi-day offsite brainstorming sessions with senior management teams. You’ve got all the tools for successful planning—a highly recommended consultant with a slew of best practice models, easels with big sticky pads, Post-It notes and colored markers, fruit and bagels, even Jenga for break time…what could go wrong? Yet, not long after defining your vision and Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG), you find yourself asking, “What did we say we were going to do?”
Too often the outcome of a strategic planning process is a three-to-five year plan that is one or all of the following:
Strategy is really about defining change. Management should leave a planning exercise with a common understanding of the change to be made and the sequence of steps necessary to make the change.
The key to a successful strategic planning process is to translate a desired direction into an actionable, executable plan, with a layered approach from visioning to interpretation, planning, and governance:
No one plans to fail, but they do fail to plan, strategically. For more information, read the M Powered Strategies’ white paper, Strategy Made Plannable .