Why is Strategic Associated with Planning not Action?
Something jumped out at me as I was thinking about strategy. Around the
world, I find it repeatably to be more of a planning process than an actual
work-out process. That’s a shame. In my mind that means most of the
effect of strategy is lost.
That may be true for you or the organization you work for as well.
The overwhelming preference for planning versus action when it
comes to strategy is true when you look at searches on Google. There’s
over 35 times the number of searches for “strategic planning” as there are
for strategic execution, or strategic follow through or any similar terms.
It’s also evident in language. We don’t seem to have a commonly used
term for following through on strategy in a fashion that’s equivalent
with the well used term “strategic planning”.
If you’re like me, you tend to think of the following associations when it
comes to the concept of strategic:
1. Meetings and off-site… not action
2. Something you do once a year… not every month or every day
3. Consultants and management team… not front line staff
Why such a big disconnect? Why is strategic associated with planning,
Maybe it’s because strategic plans get lost in translation (see my next blog).
Maybe it’s because strategic planning get’s approached from the perspective
of defining over-arching concepts and world views, not something practical,
something that will be implemented, reviewed and measured next month.
Maybe strategic planning does exactly what it is intended to do. Help everyone
participating or requesting such a plan (report) feel better. Part of the feel
better seems to come from the experience or belief that everyone is operating
from the same page, the same priorities… going forward.
Perhaps an even larger driver for the comfort strategic planning and the lack
of time spent on follow-through has to do with what happens when the
comfort level goes up. You know, you feel comfortable, because you’ve
done “something about it.” Sort of like when we feel better about say getting
in shape because we bought new running shoes,
not because we’ve actually started running regularly.
Strategic Planning is presently largely disconnected from actual, trackable
follow-through. It’s disconnected in our behavior at work and it’s disconnected
in our language and in our expectations or mental constructs.
Let me know if you find it to be the same where you work and what you’ve
found works best in bridging the gap.