Who Killed The Strategic Plan?

Academic experts and business school professors in increasing numbers have been announcing the official “death” of strategic planning.
“The emerging doctrine suggests that a continuous process of evolution must be adopted – and encouraged.”
Karl Albrecht (Futurist & Strategist)

Gravestone

Mr. Albrecht now refers to the process as “Strategic Conversation” because too often, the outcome of strategic planning is SPLOTS: Strategic Plans Languishing On The Shelf.
That ain’t the way God planned it.

We’ve all seen it and some of us have participated in it:

  • A group of well-meaning folks get together to discuss the progress and future of the Big Whatever.
  • We hear about where we are and how we got there.
  • We throw up ideas on future betterment.
  • Everyone goes around and vote for the best ideas, sometimes using sticky paper dots to mark our choices.
  • Finally, the facilitator congratulates everyone and produces a hard copy or PDF of the planned outcomes.

And, if the plan isn’t regularly reread and revisited? SPLOTS!
Thus the Strategic Conversation.

In order to keep the process alive and worth the effort, the organization should adopt at least these 3 specific tactics to ensure vitality and relevance:

  1. Set specific dates in the future to revisit the ideas.
  2. Choose specific criteria to judge the progress of the outcomes
  3. Identify every major activity of the organization with its corresponding segment from the plan so that people aren’t tempted to stray from the path by things bright and shiny.

That doesn’t mean that the plan can’t be changed. Every plan changes. But it means that the organization must return to the strategy and consider what and why the changes should occur. Sometimes this means abandoning part of the original intention (see previous post on planned abandonment).

Otherwise they’re all just good intentions and as the philosopher said long ago, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”

Have you dusted off your strategic plan lately???? Hmm???

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