Identifying and Overcoming Obstacles to Accomplish Objectives
I’ve seen this repeated so many times. Maybe you have, too.
The planning meeting ends with a good deal of enthusiasm and excitement for what was just created. But, sure enough, the euphoria dies down and the hard work of implementing the tactical portion of the plan begins. It is here that planners run headlong into the many impediments that were there all along but mostly ignored during the planning process. We call them obstacles and rather than ignoring them, we recommend spending a significant amount of planning time identifying and confronting them.
Once objectives have been listed and prioritized, a tactical plan is established to accomplish these. Ideally, there is a timeline set and the assignment of each tactic is made to one member of the planning team. No, not to a department, division, committee, or team but to one person. More on this later. But before we even get to listing the tactics needed to accomplish the objectives, we ask these important questions: What is currently in the way of us accomplishing this objective? What obstacles exist which are likely to impede our progress?
In my experience this is often the most animated portion of the planning meeting. It often seems as though once the green light is given, obstacles flow forth. One leads to another and there is surprisingly little argument about the nature of these.
Once obstacles are identified and listed for each prioritized objective, we can now begin the tactical portion of the plan development. These tactics are not focused on the objectives per se, but on the eliminating, neutralizing, or controlling the obstacles which stand in the way.
This subtle but important change (creating tactics to address obstacles to objectives rather than the objectives themselves) brings needed focus and a heightened sense of urgency to the tactical plan. It is crystal clear to planners that they stand little chance of accomplishing the objectives they’ve identified until the very things that stand in the way have been removed. With this as the priority, the tactical planning takes on new meaning and relevance. In other words, obstacles become the raw material from which tactical planning and successful outcomes ultimately flow.
For more information on how our comprehensive, common sense strategic planning process can help secure your business future, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.