Strategic plan; Thought, Actions or Write-up
This week I read a blog from Fred Nichols, discussing whether most of the
value is in a strategic plan, or in the process of creating one. It got me
thinking about how to define what really is a strategic plan, hence this
blog and a question (well actually several) to you:
If the strategic plan is essentiallythe plan to get ahead at the business
level, is it something that’s written or stored in a software program?
Or since most people in an organization don’t know or can’t remember
the strategic plan, is it really how and what we think, our
assumptions about what it takes to get ahead?
Or since we all don’t act consistent with how we think, or what we read,
is the strategic plan really defined by how we act, what we spend
time on, what we prioritize or repeat?
If you redefine the strategic plan as simply the plan that defines how to
get ahead, it really makes you realize for most people it isn’t what’s written.
What if ultimately the strategic plan is always something internal that
drives the choices we make. Now that internal plan may be based upon
a written plan or thought process somewhere, but that internal plan
could also be quite detached from any formal process.
While you’re thinking about that, let me also suggest that maybe,
for most of us, the internal plan is based primarily on one core
assumption that fits with our personality more than anything else.
I have a unique way of combining Myers-Briggs scores that seems
to match up well against brain research, and if I were to put it in
a matrix, the personality types and their one core strategic
emphasis would look like this:
Back to the strategic plan question. Is it external, internal, or a connection
between the two? I’m thinking the strategic plan is primarily internal,
and you have to work pretty hard to connect the two. It takes some
work to connect an external plan to people’s internal assumptions.
To Fred’s discussion of the whether the process or the value is the
value add, I’m thinking neither if the plan people are working from
is primarily internal and not impacted by whatever formal plan got
developed or the process to develop it.
What if the process for developing strategic plans emphasized
connecting people’s inner world of assumptions and preferences,
with the external business question and reality of “how to get ahead.”?
I think most of us work off of an internal strategic plan, not an external
one. Secondly our internal plan is shaped more by our personal
preferences than business needs or process. Third, if you look at
personality profiles, you realize the standard approach to strategic
planning is structured for only one personality type,the Analytic
Thinker/Builder. Looks like we need to redesign current approaches
to strategic planning to incorporate the styles of everyone
in the organization, not just a minority… especially if you want to
create an external plan that will impact everyone.