How do you know where you’re going?

I can’t believe how many organizations run without a plan. How do you know you’re getting somewhere? How do you decide what initiatives to undertake? How do you allocate budgets or people efforts?

I realize that many consultants or organizations make strategic planning a painful and useless process but I truly believe in having everyone wear the same t-shirt, be able to tie their work into the greater mandate and understand what success means.

No plans for us

There seems to be 3 reasons folks don’t have a useful plan:

  • Big bureaucratic organizations do planning as an isolated task instead of a tool to support real work. They’ve lost the spirit of the strategic planning.
  • In entrepreneurial organizations the plan, which changes often, remains locked in the head of the boss.
  • Organizations don’t know the concepts, benefits and techniques of strategic planning.

The classic model works with some extras

I am a believer in the classic model of mission, vision, goals and objectives.

Then I take it further, adding tactics, so that the real work we do can be laddered up to the objectives. You can see the meaning and understand management decisions since there’s a path from work tasks to more broadly defined objectives.

And I add success metrics from the bottom to the top, again laddering lower level task measures up to the higher level measures that show attainment of goals and objectives.

Add realism and commitment

Now I may sound like “one of those consultants” but I am far too practical and pragmatic to make this a useless process. I have a fast, yet inclusive, and decisive process that I use to get this “stuff on paper.” And I live these plans…post them up…make decisions based on the charts and measure my progress.

This model worked well for my clients when I was a paid consultant. Now that I’m a strategic volunteer, it’s working amazingly well in the non-profit space.

I don’t know why anyone would spend an hour of effort without knowing where they’re going!


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