The story of Alice’s meeting with the Cheshire Cat in Wonderland is a favorite among strategic planning advocates.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” Alice asked.
“That depends a great deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where – ” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
Without skipping a beat, strategic planners then add quickly – often with a wink and a smile – “Now we don’t want to be like Alice, do we?”
While there’s an element of truth in that cautionary message, it misses much of what good strategic planning is all about. Deciding where you want to get to is actually pretty easy. The real challenge is knowing how to get there in a way that’s most likely to succeed – and with the least amount of damage.
Most strategic planners understand that point, too. That’s why they carry around the usual SWOT analysis in their little kit bag – looking at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Nothing wrong with that either – as far as it goes.
The big problem with most strategic planning efforts is that they wind up in a binder somewhere because they lack a process for action and the structure to support it.
At Landes & Associates, we help organizations create strategic plans that get up and move – powered by the following key elements:
- Motivating vision with focused business definition rooted in meaningful values
- Action plans for achieving the vision
- Processes and structures to support planned actions
- Top-down and bottom-up engagement in developing the strategy
- Constructive accountability to keep people tuned in to their commitments