Sunday, August 31, 2008

Acronym: Strategic planning: Are you for or against?

Acronym: Strategic planning: Are you for or against?: "The editors of Associations Now want to get our readers thinking--but every now and then an article gets an even stronger reaction than we had expected. In August, that article was 'The Perils of Strategic Planning' by James Hollan. Here's how the story begins:"


Unknown said...

Strategic Planning has a reputation of being a cumbersome behemoth. It doesn't have to be. Planning systems like the QuickPlanner Plus method are designed to make Strategic Planning a fun and enjoyable process.

Nathan Ives said...

Do you know of an organization that performs extremely well during a crisis? Maybe your own?

Organizations do well during times of crisis because executives, managers, and individual contributors all gain clarity of purpose, action, and expectation. Clarity, along with a sense of urgency, breaks down organizational barriers allowing people to work together efficiently towards the singular goal. These factors enable the organization to resolve the crisis quickly and return to normal operations.

On a day-to-day basis, especially during a period of continuous success, organizations tend to lose clarity of purpose and the sense of urgency. Over time, bureaucracy builds as a diminished focus on the organization’s mission prevents well intentioned executives and managers from relentlessly eliminating resource waste. Bloated processes make cross-organizational execution more difficult; driving employees to focus on their personal performance and success instead of that of the organization. Silos form and performance declines. Therefore, it is critically important for leaders to clearly define the organization’s goals and actions and to instill the sense of urgency that motivates employees to work effectively and efficiently together in pursuit of mission objectives.

Strategic planning provides the foundation for creating clarity of purpose and action on a day-to-day basis. A well defined, measureable mission supported by specific organizational objectives and reinforced by vertically cascaded, horizontally shared performance measures and effective executive and managerial oversight creates and maintains the clarity of purpose needed for continuous success. Without the unifying vision provided by strategic planning, an organization may lose sight of its goals, stray from the road to success, stumble, and ultimately fall; failing to keep pace with competitors in today’s extremely aggressive marketplace.

Final Thought…

Some organizations become victims to cyclic performance. When this occurs, the downward slide is typically viewed as a crisis for which the organization rallies to improve performance. Having realized a performance upswing, the organization becomes complacent, losing its focus and once again falling behind the competition. This cycle is often the product of ineffective strategic planning and will likely continue until a strong, unified vision is created and embraced by all members of the organization.

It is the hope of all StrategyDriven contributors that the concepts and materials provided on our website ( will help you to develop and communicate the unified vision needed to make your organization truly StrategyDriven.

All the Best,
Nathan Ives
Principal Contributor and
co-Host, StrategyDriven Podcast