Planning May Not Be the Issue!

February 2, 2016 - 3 minutes read

Strategic Planning

At this time of year, companies and individuals are beginning to drift away from strategic plans or New Year’s resolutions. It is not a surprise to realize that some good intentions don’t make it to reality. And, for too many companies, the notebook (hard copy or digital) of the strategic planning retreat outcomes and plans gathers dust on the shelf until next year. Then it gets reviewed and either creates guilty that we didn’t stay focused or prompts the excuse for lack of accomplishment due “unanticipated impacting factors.”

Maybe this year can be different. And, it can start to be different at any time (now!) . . . not just at the beginning of a new calendar year.

There is a key article that worth reading – and applying. While I wish I could take credit for this, I can’t. I want to give credit where it is due. First, to the author, John P. Kotter, writing for the Harvard Business Review. The Article is titled “Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail.” It is a short article and very approachable – even to non-Harvard graduates like me.

The article was shared with me by Dr. Bob Fisher, of Belmont University, after his remarks at an appreciation reception honoring his outstanding service as Chairman of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. I am forever grateful.

The article provides 8 key errors made by companies who say they want to transform with the intent of realizing more of their potential.

The 8 errors are:

  1. Not establishing a great enough sense of urgency
  2. Not creating a powerful enough guiding coalition
  3. Lacking a vision
  4. Under-communicating the vision by a factor of 10
  5. Not removing obstacles to the new vision
  6. Not systematically planning for and creating short-term wins
  7. Declaring victory too soon
  8. Not anchoring changes in the corporation’s culture

The article provides great information and insights on each of the 8 errors and you can find a copy of it simply by clicking here. But, there is something worth considering as you read it.

Much of what the article addresses is about communication. How your company talks to itself (as well as to external audiences), what it says and how often, is of critical importance. An example would be related to error number 6 – not planning for and creating short-term wins. If that does not happen and include consistent celebration and excitement of the wins, the spirit and culture of an organization suffers.

So, plans are critically important – but their value is dramatically reduced if they are not truly empowered and implemented. Daily.

It can often take an external catalyst to help initiate and sustain real change. If you would like to explore the possibility of culture adjustment and sustainable change in your firm, contact Don Klein at Don Klein Consulting. 615/477-3100.