Planning isn't Working
- “Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay.”
- – Jiddu Krishnamurti
In today’s business environment it is abundantly clear that a linear, plodding approach to planning reflects a bygone era. We are just not living in the same world that gave rise to the stodgy strategic planning process we know and in many cases grudgingly put up with.
The typical strategic planning process follows a series of steps so steeped in hoary tradition that the entire experience has taken on the character of a religious ritual. Define the vision, set the mission, set goals, create copious projects, review progress, and repeat once a year.
In this process, the “vision” is often based on a vanilla wish list that sounds exactly the same from organization to organization. The “plan” is contrived through an annual local environmental scan that is devoid of a timely, robust, and realistic understanding of the conditions facing the organization. And the resulting “projects” are lost in the mix as the day to day of real world conditions preoccupies the people meant to execute them.
Traditional approaches to strategy just can’t keep up. At best, they get people talking about where they’d like to go, but all too often, they result in irrelevant strategies that lack sufficient relevance, energy, motivation and agility to inspire, align, and mobilize teams. Let alone generate value.
There is a real reason why the very term “strategic planning” often evokes images of a once a year two-day workshop resulting in large binders gathering dust on shelves in executive offices, and people meant to execute ‘the plan’ who groan at the very thought of it all.
Relevant strategies are the product of teams who can think on their feet, formulate strategy and act on it in real-time, in sync with changing conditions.
Today’s strategic methods must ensure that the period between the identification of conditions and strategic response is as short as possible. A long-winded approach that does not allow for real-time strategic thinking and adjustment is a waste of resources and leads to squandered opportunity.
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