Why do organizations still spend so much time and effort on strategic planning?
For any organization, strategy should be the highest priority for leadership. Strategy is at the foundation of value creation. It determines how an organization approaches its vision, and how it defines and delivers on its mission. Strategy is a key influence on whether an organization can survive over time.
“Strategy” is more than just preparing a strategic plan. “Strategy” is using organizing frameworks to make decisions in a complex environment, which lead toward a desired end state. In the Red Queen’s world of ongoing acceleration, strategy must be flexible, so adaptive decisions can be made constantly.
Can a strategic planning process be used as an opportunity to develop new skills?
Strategy is something you “do” every single day. While structured planning processes and written 5-year plans are tremendously important, they are wasted opportunities if strategic thinking is “turned off” once the facilitator goes home.
With the right methods and tools you can make the strategic planning process a central activity in developing strategic thinking capacity throughout your organization.
This will provide you with ongoing benefits, including greater organizational resiliency and the development of personal strengths and competencies.
Isn’t Strategic Planning old-fashioned?
In 1994 Henry Mintzberg out the difference between strategic planning and thinking. Among other things, he said that strategic planning was “the enemy” of strategic thinking.
His quote has been used a lot, but generally without the context, turning it into a superficial dig at planning. But Mintzberg was not dispensing with the value of planning – far from it.
What he wanted to emphasize was that the organizational vision needed to be refreshed or re-conceived at the start of every strategic planning exercise. Otherwise all that was happening was the fine-tuning of initiatives in support of a previously established vision – one that might now be out of date.