Does Strategic Planning get Lost in Translation? (1of3)
I was reading a blog from Mike Koenigs this week, entitled “How to Get
Your Point Across to Any Personality Type by Anwering 4 Simple Questions.”
It rang a bell in my head about strategic planning and the gap between
strategic planning and follow-through or execution that sometimes seems
to dwarf the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
I started thinking about the fact that Strategic Plans seem to commonly
“get lost in translation.” This and the following two blogs are about that topic
and what you can do to avoid it.
Mike references David Kolb’s work, but it could just as easily be a
Myers-Briggs quadrant or some other personality construct. The point is
that you have to voice or frame things differently for different types of
people if you want to be heard and responded too. In effect, different
personality types have different frames of reference and tend to focus
on different questions around which to organize their world of activity.
In Mike’s case he’s trying to help people sell a product better.
At first glance, I tend to think of strategic planning as not related to selling…
but maybe it is. In fact, NOT selling strategic planning is one of three
ways a strategic plan gets lost in translation and becomes ineffectual.
Let’s look at the sales process Mike suggests first. He breaks personality
down into the following 4 types as characterized by a defining question:
1. Sales – ask WHY?
2. Scholastics – ask WHAT FOR?
3. Technicals – ask HOW?
4. Advocates – ask WHAT IF?
Mike goes on to suggest you approach a selling process to all 4 types
by addressing their questions, more specifically by asking:
1. Why you should buy.
2. How it will benefit you.
3. What this product will do.
4. What it will accomplish.
5. How it does what it does.
6. Creative things you can do with it (beyond the original purpose).
Each questions makes an interesting reframe if you think of it in terms of
selling a strategic plan to the people who are going to live with it. Now stop
and ask yourself, “When have you ever sat in front of a really good sales
presentation of a strategic plan that answered these questions?”
I don’t think I can remember once having someone approach the unveiling
of a strategic plan in a sales sensitive manner, and I’ve been through lots of
strategic plan developments and presentations.
Strategic plans are typically developed without an orientation towards selling it.
Most of the time they get built in a presentation format that emphasizes the
link between goals and actions, not customer needs and solutions
I find that strategic plan presenters may think they are selling, but they
were primarily informing, sometimes trying to convince, and in the process
they were breaking all sorts of selling rules in the process.
I don’t think many strategic plans get approached as even needing to be sold.
To me, that’s the first slippery slide in which strategy gets lost in translation.
If you are in charge of strategic planning, plan on selling it.�
Not presenting it, not publishing it, not even implementing it. The
Strategic Plan needs to be sold. If you don’t do a good job of selling the plan,
and that means approaching the rest of the people in your organization as
prospects, the strategic plan will get lost in translation and likely
whither away and die somewhere in the subsequent following 12 months.