Strategy, Follow-Up & Visiting Relatives
Your strategic objectives, what I like to call your placed bets, can be
right or wrong, tuned in, or wildly out of sync with the market… but
ultimately only as good as the follow-up.
Let me say that another way. Your strategic plan can be bad for lots of
reasons, but it can only be as good as your follow-up. Lack of follow-up
ultimately strands every good idea.
So here’s a quick blog about follow-up. First of all, no self abuse
allowed, 99% of us can all follow-up a bit better. Everyone is in the same
boat. So having said that, take a look at strategy and follow-up for a
moment, you might find something pretty interesting, even help yourself
Here’s my first premise. Most of us aren’t naturally good at being
strategic. We don’t intuitively think that way, and what’s more, even
if we do, we don’t hang onto or revisit the thought nearly often enough to
make something happen. We’re better suited, in fact we even seek out, a
daily regimen of something more immediate, whether that’s the next
email, task or phone call.
If you checked back on 2010 would that fit you?
Did you have a strategic plan, maybe you were assigned to one or
more strategic initiatives? How often did you focus on them, and
when you did, why?
Here’s my second premise (I promise this will get better in a moment),
The Visiting Relatives phenomenon is alive and well when it
comes to strategic planning. Most of us, after the first 30 days following
inception, pay attention to strategy with a frequency that’s directly tied to
how often we have to generate a report for a meeting. It follows what I
call the “Visiting Relatives” effect. You know, that behavior we all do
when relatives are coming to visit, we clean up the place. Well that
looks a lot like how most people treat strategic plans.
Strategy for most of us functions like a shelf in the back of the guest
bedroom, and we only clean that area up, and dust it off, when
prompted by the onset of guests visiting – or in the corporate world,
when we have to generate a report. You get the connection.
We all agree follow-up is important. The David Allen, “Getting Things Done”
community frames it as a fundamental tenant and describes it as
the “Weekly Review“.
What would happen in 2011 if we did a weekly review of strategy, progress
to date, whether or not it still fits, if not, what to do next, etc…?
You and I would probably agree that if we focused on it weekly, good
things would happen, right? So why don’t we? If it works for getting
things done, why don’t we use it for being more strategic and all the
positive outcomes that we expect to follow?
The answer to that is probably locked in your childhood, and anyway
would take too long to cover in this blog. Would I would like to close
with is to address one suggestion for helping to become more
regular about working strategically this year.
Here it is… Use the Visiting Relatives effect.
That’s it, what? What do you mean?
I mean make it a scheduled event. Calendarize it. Make working
strategically or reviewing your strategic plan and ensuing results, a scheduled
(recurring) meeting… go even further and get yourself to require a report
for the meeting. Label it in your calendar, “Relatives are showing up,” if it
helps. Get someone else whom you respect, to agree to meet with you
(it helps the VR effect).
Putting it on the calendar and requiring a report can go a long ways
toward helping you work more strategically in 2011. Be good to yourself,
and the firm you work for, Get it Done!
Working and keeping your strategic plan active is only as good as your
follow-up. What drives follow-up for most of us is preparation for a
presentation. Use that phenomonen, the Visiting Relatives effect, to
help you work strategically much more consistently in 2011.
Strategic Planning and Execution Software to help you in the review process.