How to create a strategic plan that doesn’t get caught in your zipper.

Dilbert strategic planning

What is a good strategic plan? Nada! Zip! There really isn’t one.

Okay there is one – The one that embodies as much execution as planning.

Now a good process, mind you over processing is the path of least resistance chosen by many organization’s expects diversity of opinion.

Here are three:

  1. Get everyone involved
  2. Show them what’s in it for them
  3. Not constrained by corporate assumptions
  4. Listen to the people on the frontlines – The Boots on The ground
  5. Demand and expect the honest truth. Remember Nokia (read this) where executives who circled their own wagons electing to foster self preservation, something management assigns to employees i.e. serfs, rather than give the real economics. ( Shipping delays, back logs, competitive errors, research snafus, mismanagement)
  6. Create accountability and intense execution
  7. Succinct
  8. Have a diverse group – Watch this mistake MSNBC made on Cinco de Mayo. A diverse staff would have eliminated this. Not race.  Diverse viewpoints.
  9. Make the strategic plan a living document where two items are constantly updated, “who did what, when and why not.”
  10. Create vigorous debate and doodling

Nick Tasler in an HBR article provides additional insights:

Myth 2: The leader’s job is to identify what’s “important.”

Here’s a quick exercise: Make a list of every project and initiative your team is working on right now. When you finish the list, draw a line through all of the things that are not important.

If you’re like 99% of teams, not one project on your list will get crossed out. That’s because every project your team is working on is “important” to someone somewhere somehow. They all “add value” in some vague way. That’s why debating about what’s important is futile. Strategic thinkers must decide where to focus, not merely what’s “important.” Strategic leaders must consciously table some “important” projects or ignore some “important” opportunities.

Myth 3: Strategic thinking is only about thinking.

Strategic leadership is not a math problem or a thought experiment. Ultimately, strategic thoughts must yield strategic action. Thorough cost/benefit analyses replete with mesmerizing forecasts, tantalizing linear trends, and 63-tab spreadsheets beautiful enough to make a newly minted MBA weep with joy are utterly useless without an actionable decision. In spite of the uncertainty, complexity, and the ever-present possibility of failure, a strategic leader must eventually step up and make the call about what the team will and will NOT focus on.  3 Myths That Kill Strategic Planning – Nick Tasler – Harvard Business Review.

Regardless of size, scale or lifecycle of enterprise maturation, those who lead organizations worry about the same things: a lack of creative thinking, obsolescence/irrelevance, innovation and change, aligning purpose with vision, talent, team-building, culture, and the future. Let us help you unpack your challenges and convert them into competitive advantage.

Jim Woods, Leadership speaker, Human Resources Consultant, Business Coach

Jim Woods is a leadership development and training consultant deploying his unique abilities in character based training and strategy.

See a partial list of Jim’s clients. Hire Jim Woods to Speak  | Follow us: Facebook | Follow us: Twitter | Skype ID – jim.woods79   Click here to schedule an appointment.

Jim is president of InnoThink Group a human resources and leadership management consulting firm | Skype ID – jim.woods79   Click here to schedule an appointment.m. He has an absolute passion for people development and are constantly refining and adapting his programs in order to ensure that they have the maximum impact on those we serve.


Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website

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