Strategy is a destination
When thinking about strategic planning, the common approach is to engage external consultants to provide facilitation and independent guidance for the organisational subject matter experts comprising; Executive teams, Staff, Members (NfP), Shareholders (for Profit) etc to design the future for the organisation (looking forward 3, 5 or even 10 yrs).
Once completed and endorsed by the governance board, the strategic plan is delegated to management to deliver and can more commonly be placed in a drawer and referenced at the AGM, when the annual report states that everything is on track and progressing to plan.
Can we see the plan?
Can we see the key milestones at critical points of the road-map?
Is there a road-map?
How do we know that everything is progressing?
What are the key milestones?
What should we be observing at these milestones?
What we have observed is that the actual delivery of the strategic plan is in danger of becoming a ‘happening’ as opposed to a carefully planned road-map.
Let’s think of it like planning a major holiday.
To know where you want to go on holidays is dependent on your current environment; if you’re married or single; have no kids, young kids or older kids; if you’re yearning an activity or relaxing holiday; a single or multiple destinations; do you want cold arctic or alpine adventure or tropical temperate heat?
You’ll have a lot of dreams and expectations of how your holiday will be, maybe it’s a checklist (visit this or taste that etc) maybe it’s to improve on a previous personal best to ski the down the black run in 2 mins or hike the more difficult tracks.
Now you know where you’re going and why, you can start to pack, book, plan, not forgetting to consider ‘what could go wrong’ and buy insurance, copying your key travel docs and cancelling the milk and appointments..
In this example of planning your holiday you have just completed a “common sense” approach for planning any type of change; project, program, portfolio or delivery of an organisational strategic plan.