At a 2019 Drucker Conference on ecosystem strategy, I heard one panelist say “Strategic planning is dead.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. Strategic planning as we have been taught it in management schools is dead – it has been for a long time. I also heard someone say that strategic planning is an oxymoron. That is true … if you take the words ‘strategic’ and ‘planning’ independently of one another!
Great strategic planning has never been more critical than since everything started changing at breakneck speed. Great strategic plans are mission critical during turbulent times. They keep your organization focused on what is important, thus simplifing decision-making.
How do you identify a great strategic plan?
1- It has a strong vision. Strong = clear, concise, and aspirational.
2- Is mission is clear. It communicates what the organization does, and, indirectly, what it does not do.
3- It has a great strategy. Great = adaptable. Great = driving towards the vision.
4. Its strategic iniitiatives and action plan are directly connected to the achievement of the strategy. Each initiative brings the organization closer to the clear, concise, and aspirational vision. Strategic assumptions and alternatives are discussed during the development of great action plans.
How might a great strategic plan serve you during turbulent times?
1- It keeps your organization focused on the achievement of its vision.
2- It can be adapted based on the rapidly evolving circumstances. Better yet, it can be adapted to create new value for the entire ecosystem, and new benefits for clients and society that slower competitors will want to level up to.
3. Action plans can be easily adjusted. They are not set in stone. Success does not rely on achieving tasks – it is defined by outcomes, which are always tied to the vision and values.
Great strategic plans create clarity even in times of high ambiguity and uncertainty. There are so many good tools and approaches that have been taught in management schools. The process of wading through them to develop a great strategic plan is exciting and very fulfilling if the right conversations are had.
As always, I appreciate your comments and insights! Reach out if you’d like to discuss.
Written by Lesley Antoun
Lesley Antoun creates crystal clear strategies with leaders, with their teams and with their organizations. Her consulting firm has offered advisory services and strategic planning expertise to small privately-held companies, large publicly traded corporations, Crown corporations, Universities and First Nations organizations.