4 tips for better strategic planning

Recently I read an excellent blog post on the HBR blog written by Ron Ashkenas and Logan Chandler about Four tips for better strategic planning.

In the blog post Mr. Ashkenas and Mr. Chandler lists common mistakes organizations do when developing their strategy. 

The authors point out template based strategies being one of the obstacles. And I Agree. 
Every so often I’m running into big template based business plans or template driven software applications. Templates might not always be the best vehicle for strategy implementation for a number of reasons; templates often hold too much and irrelevant data, hard to find a direction/focus and to distinctively pinpoint to what is the most critical for an organization to succeed with.
It is far better to foster intense debates and discussions lead by a facilitator.
Focus on the critical questions "what are the most critical actions for success", list them and align them with critical capabilities to create an immediate “contract” with the organization for execution.
Mr. Ashkenas and Mr. Chandler also lists “Banish fuzzy language”. It is so critical in the strategy process so it is often the cause for the single point of failure in the planning process. A good first step is to stop using words that the team isn’t capable to univocally describe what is it that is so critical.
I practice a path of how to exclude these words when I facilitate teams and it isn’t that hard for a team to adjust. I often hear team responses like “We have never been told not to use these fluffy words before.”

 Mr. Ashkenas' and Mr. Chandler's four tips;

  1. Insist on experiments to test the assumptions you’ve made.
  2. Banish fuzzy language.
  3. Escape from template tyranny.
  4. Ask provocative questions.

Read the the full blog post on the HBR Blog:


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