Strategic Planning or Strategy and Planning
Given the rapid rate of change the business world faces, it stands to reason that some have come to wonder if time spent planning is really worth it. And what exactly is strategic planning anyway?
Having recently completed a workbook/primer designed to help organizational leaders of all sizes and scopes think about planning, it occurred to me that it was time for a refresh of the name. A subtle but important change seems to fit: Strategy & Planning.
In his Harvard Business Review article titled "The Big Lie of Strategic Planning," Roger Martin rightly addresses what he sees as a major flaw in the process of planning. Planning is what follows an articulation of your business strategy and is a means of allocating resources; human, processes, and financial, to accomplish a specific set of objectives.
Strategy emanates from an understanding of your organization’s unique strengths, capabilities, and competencies and how these align with the needs and demands of a carefully targeted set of customers. And try as we might, articulating your strategy can be an untidy and uncomfortable exercise. One reason for this is simple. In conducting this assessment, it becomes necessary to rationalize what we are doing and, more specifically, what we will no longer do. This is easy to understand but difficult to implement. The fact is in order to be successful, something will likely have to change.
Strategy and planning are not about future decisions. They are about the future of the decisions and the choices we make today. That is why being fast, fluid, and flexible in planning is every bit as important as the process and structure of the plan itself. We are taking chances, making estimates and guesses and placing bets on what we will do, for whom, how and for how much. These variables are enough to make even the most savvy and experienced leadership team apprehensive and a bit uncomfortable as the process of strategy and planning unfold. The good news? This is exactly as it should be!
For more information about strategy and planning for your business, contact me at email@example.com
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.