Strategic planning can do a great many things for your organization. It serves as the roadmap guiding your organization down the winding road to success.
We can go on-and-on about what strategic planning can [and should] do for your organization. But, equally as important, there are things you should not expect the strategic planning process to inherently fix for your organization.
So, here are three expectations you should eliminate from your shortlist as you embark upon creating your 2018 plan in the coming months.
1) Strategic Planning should not drive your team to “get things done.”
A common misconception is that strategic planning will create a to-do list for your organization. Instead, strategic planning should drive your team to get the right things done. Productivity for the sake of productivity isn’t going to add value to your organization; focusing your team on the actions that will help achieve your vision of success will. Think quality over quantity.
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The planning and execution process should drive your teams to become more self-managing by empowering them to focus on the things that matter most, collect measurements on targets on those actions, and drive results from the bottom up.
2) Strategic planning meetings shouldn’t solve your day-to-day operations
We often see strategic planning sessions and reviews bogged down by trying to solve day-to-day operations challenges. While your plan may include longer-term initiatives and actions to help improve the efficiency and operation of your organization, strategic planning and strategy reviews are inherently designed for your organization to take a step-back and look at the big picture.
Day-to-day operational issues don’t belong in strategy sessions. Trying to mend these issues in strategy session will only derail your meeting and shift focus away from how your organization is going to reach its long-term goals.
3) Strategy won’t inherently improve your organization’s communication
Simply having a strategic plan won’t improve your organization’s communication. But, the way you create your plan, roll it out, and keep it front and center will.
Eliminate jargon speak, unnecessary acronyms, and function-specific language, opting instead for a unified language that your entire organization can understand. After your plan is done, you’ll need to roll it out and stand up a structure so your organization can focus on execution. As your organization continues to contact the information, execute against the plan, and report on performance consistently, it starts to create the open dialogue which accompanies efficient communication.
As you enter the period when 2018 planning becomes top-of-mind, keep your expectations of the planning process level and steady. It’s important to fix your organization’s near-term issues, just remember the strategic planning process is focused on helping you drive your organization to your desired future state through vigilance and long-term dedication to the ongoing planning and execution process.