Strategic planning

Posted on May 25, 2010


This is the season for strategic planning as the fiscal year winds down and next year’s preparation begins. For many organizations, planning during this difficult economic time can be a frustrating moving target. We can’t control th environment but we can control how we plan for it. Here are some steps to help shape a plan that is worth accomplishing and can lead to needed progress. Much of this was taken from Guy Kawasaki’s REALITY CHECK. It’s a great handbook for managers and leaders.

  • Create something worth executing: It’s hard to stay motivated and excited about executing irrelevant and boring objectives or projects. It’s easy if you’re changing the world. Dream of plans that will make a difference in your context. This should all be wrapped up in a one sentence Mission Statement.
  • Set Goals:
    • Measurable: If a goal isn’t measurable, it’s unlikely you’ll achieve it. What gets measured is what gets done. You may not measure everything but goals you must for the goals you want to make progress in.
    • Achievable: Forecast what you think you can accomplish then add 10%. There’s nothing more demoralizing than setting a conservative goal and still falling short. 10% = a faith component.
    • Relevant: Meaning, your people should think it’s important. If it provides little value to the end-user then pitch it. Relevant to just you doesn’t necessarily mean it’s relevant to your tribe.
    • Resistant to the ‘black hole’: These are goals that lead to nowhere. Having a thousand people use your product but not care enough to tell anyone means nothing. Make sure your goals unfold to the end destination and has benefit that lasts.
  • De-emphasize touchy-feely goals: These may make you feel good for a while but the pains of missing measurable goals last a long time. Focus on the concrete (ex: to make a world a ‘better’ place).
  • Establish single point of responsibility:  When it’s everyone’s job, it’s no one’s job. Goals without accountability will quickly be forgotten.
  • System to recognize the achievers/a culture of execution: Your tribe repeats what you celebrate. The only way you create a culture of execution is taking it seriously. It’s not a onetime event but a daily, weekly, and monthly habit. The leader sets the pace and has to model execution.
  • A vision that is greater than yourself: Exploring an unknown territory is exciting but landing on the moon changes the world. Dream, dream, dream of the remarkable. Those people who set out the make a buck and pay bills do just that. World changers dream of something different. 

Read more of my thoughts on REALITY CHECK.