November 11, 2009
Take a look at your Strategic Planning documents. I will wager that the vast majority of them are based on a 5 year period. The 5-year Plan pervades our planning paradigms; it is the antithesis of Planning on the Run.
Bottom line - does the 5th year ever happen? NO! It becomes the 4th year after one year; the 3rd year after the second year of the five year cycle. Well if the latter years never really occur why do we try and plan for them in our strategic development process? The only reason I can think of is that the 5-Year Plan is an accepted way of doing things when it comes to strategic planning. It is by no means DiFFERENT.
We need a planning process that is execution centric. A focus on ‘months’ as the planning unit rather than years. Compressing the planning time horizon to 36 months or less in order to keep execution as the activity driver of the organization.
In addition, the BE DiFFERENT Planning Process recognizes that there are random unpredictable forces that impact the results as we move along the execution path. We need to learn from how well the plan execution is going and make adjustments along the way.
The steps in the process (to you computer pros, yes it is an endless ‘do loop’) include:
- Go back to EXECUTE
The result of this process is of course that your Strategic Plan document suddenly becomes an organic entity. It changes as you learn through execution. It is morphed from a Statement of Strategic Direction to what I call a Repository of Learning. It is a messy document. It is written on. It had coffee stains on the pages of which many are earmarked for specific reference. And, it may possess the odd blood stain from an unwanted paper cut! It is used…... unlike many Planning documents that I have seen which look like their original pristine ironed form (perched ever so elegantly on a book shelf where one can hand gesture its presence but never violates its binding).
I know some planning community will take issue with this. After all I suppose it is somewhat gratifying to believe that pristine appearance and longevity of a Plan somehow defines its worth. What a crock! At best this view gives the organization a false sense of security; at worst it cultivates Momentum Management and the belief that the world doesn’t change and your original work will stand the test of time.
Don’t go there. BE DiFFERENT. Plan on the Run.
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