Development Planning



Best Laid Plans

strategic-planAt last month’s Bridge Conference, I learned something entirely new: what it sounds like when 700 people shift uncomfortably in their chairs. That, of course, is what happened when keynote speaker Bernard Ross of the Management Centre announced to a roomful of people who either develop or manage strategic plans for a living that “most strategic plans are a waste of time and a work of fiction.”

It was awesome.

I do believe firmly in strategic plans though, and have worked on quite a few in my time. The real problem with them is that they are easily confused with actual work. An organization may think it’s on top of things because it has a strategic plan, but it’s not really going to move the dial until it implements the plan. It’s like equating belonging to a gym with getting in shape.

So why don’t we just put our plans into action? For starters, we set unrealistic goals. Also, we don’t take into account the resources we need to make them happen. Worst of all, we fail to get buy-in to the vision behind the plan – I mean real, deep, organization-wide understanding of and support for the big picture. In the end, perhaps the best defense against useless strategic plans is recognizing that unto themselves, they are precisely that – useless. Accomplishment isn’t creating a great vision; it’s implementing one.

Have you had a noteworthy success or challenge with your strategic plan? Let’s hear it! Post a comment below.