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Strategic planning – it’s not for the board

Here’s another consultants joke:

A male cat owner got sick of the cat’s loud yowling and took it to the vet to get neutered. A few days after healing the cat started yowling again. The upset owner grabbed it by the scruff and yelled “What are you yowling about? You are neutered – you can’t do anything”. The cat answered calmly “Now I am a consultant”.

As an executive in the corporate world I have been on the sidelines of strategic planning processes numerous times – a bunch of young MBAs showed up, spent 3 months asking a lot of questions, went away and after 3 more months we were we were presented with the company’s 10-year plan.

And then very little happened.

This was not an anomaly. In fact, 2 out of 3 strategic plans worldwide fail!

There are multiple reasons for this, but the 2 most critical are:

- No execution element.

- A top-down approach.

I would now like to expand on the important of involving your team in creating a plan for the future of your company.

In the simplest terms, exclusion means exclusion. Why would anyone make an extra effort to deliver something so important when they had been excluded from defining it?

Conversely, when the team takes part in the planning process, they become engaged and committed. It’s their plan now, and they feel accountable. They are also motivated and energised by it.

How to do it? That’s a different issue. Contact me and I will be happy to share my experience.


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