Did Someone Say Strategic Planning?

I agree with this description of strategic planning by cartoonist Tom Fishburne. “Traditional strategic planning is often neither “strategic” nor much of a “plan”. It usually resembles a peace treaty more than clear marching orders for an organization.”

Thinking back over the corporate strategic planning sessions I’ve been a part of, that’s pretty much true. They were a conglomeration of compromises, delegated tasks, and mismanaged resources. We peons invested many hours compiling data, sitting through meetings, building “the plan”, only to have it sit on a shelf. Most managers rarely referred to it again.Let’s be clear, you should definitely plan ahead, and you should think strategically. Tough questions need to be asked and warts need to be exposed. It can be difficult and uncomfortable. It requires leadership and guts to be honest and take risks.

If this year has taught us anything, it’s the limitations of a rigid annual planning process: the best-laid plans of 2019 were thrown out the window when the reality of the pandemic hit. Trying to read the tea leaves through all the uncertainty of 2021 will be even trickier.

In an HBR article, Alessandro Di Fore suggests planning in the twenty-first century should be reconceived as agile planning. Agile planning has the ability to cope with more frequent and dynamic changes and the ability to deal with a future that will be different.

Tomorrow is uncertain. We must be agile, not only in the way our companies plan but in the way we organize work teams, respond to employee needs, celebrate accomplishments, and structure benefit programs.

Plan smart. Be agile. Stay healthy.

The road is easier together,


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