Strategic Planning 101: Productivity is NOT the Goal

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Strategic Planning

When it comes to strategic planning, no matter what the industry, we all struggle with many of the same things. There are two Harvard Business Review articles I find myself continuously referring back to for guidance, so I thought I’d share them. It’s easy to get caught up in every day’s daunting tasks, so sometimes it’s nice to bring it back to the basics and really think about why we’re doing the things we’re doing, and if what we’re doing truly helps us achieve our overall goals.

3 Myths That Kill Strategic Planning

Myth 1: Productivity is the goal…
Myth 2: The leader’s job is to identify what’s important…
Myth 3: Strategic thinking is only about thinking…

In this article, Harvard Business Review points to a bigger issue—most people are too busy to know if they’re actually being strategic and working on the right things. People generally tie their value to the projects they’re working on and it’s important to take a step back and understand what truly is “Important” with a capital I vs. “important”. The article makes the point that people’s egos are often tied to their projects, and it’s leadership’s job to let their team know that although each team member’s point of view is important, we just can’t focus on that particular project at this time.

strategic planning

If you change the conversation from a dialogue about importance, to one about focus, it changes the tone and ensures buy-in from your team. If your team sees their fingerprints are on the organizational strategy, they’ll execute at a higher rate, and if they’re aligning their projects to the organizational strategy, they’ll execute on the right things.

For the full article, click here: https://hbr.org/2014/05/3-myths-that-kill-strategic-planning

4 Tips for Better Strategic Planning

Tip 1:Insist on experiments to test the assumptions you’ve made…
Tip 2: Banish fuzzy language…
Tip 3: Escape from template tyranny…
Tip 4: Ask provocative questions…

To me, there are two takeaways that are most important from this article, 1.) It’s time to cut the fluff in your strategic plan. If you have a bunch of words like leverage, become, or reshape, then it’s time to take a hard look in the mirror. These fuzzy words illustrate a lack of clarity for what the organization’s strategy really aims to achieve. Instead, use words like develop, implement, or create which denote real action and execution around qualitative items. These words make it easy to understand what’s expected and the actions needed when executing.

strategic planning

And 2.) Your strategic plan also needs to track quantitative items as much as possible. The words you need in that case are: increase, decrease, or maintain because that’s the only thing numbers, percentages, and dollars can do. Using clear precise language ensures that your plan is more than a list of buzzwords and it allows for you to actually track its completion.

For the full article, click here: https://hbr.org/2013/10/four-tips-for-better-strategic-planning
 

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