Long live strategic planning!
If you are on a January 1 fiscal, you are either in the quagmire of “strategic planning” right now or you are just starting to resettle into the day-to-day after the offsite with the leadership team and the often corresponding submission of the FY17 budget.
As a consultancy, we receive requests to help with almost every aspect of strategic planning. Yes, we can facilitate the offsite and drive alignment with your executives so that decisions are made in two days. We can reset the game board so that leaders are pushed to think big and generate radical, new possibilities. And we can take the strategy that was developed by Mckinsey/ BCG/ Bain/ insert other traditional management consultancy and we can unpack the content so that tough trade off decisions are sustained over time, at all levels of the enterprise.
But here’s the catch:
No request for strategic planning is the same.
Half of our clients seem almost allergic to defining their efforts as strategic planning. The other half willingly embrace that title. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to this pattern. Our clients come from organizations big and small, corporate and non-profit—everyone is all over the board in how they describe this annual, or three-year, or five-year business ritual.
Logically, it follows that no approach to strategic planning is the same either.
Invariably, there are the long semantic rabbit holes of defining purpose versus mission versus values versus vision. Then there are questions about business model versus operating model, and strategy versus the “Strategic Roadmap.” Every organization has their own vernacular and cultural norms that they bring to these terms.
As consultants, we have watched and observed with fascination. A defining logic always emerges. Decisions are made. Marching orders are given. Budgets are submitted. And then we all go through it again next year, or in three years, or in five years. Godspeed.