You put so much effort into your beautiful new strategic direction. It is well crafted; you were able to effectively engage multiple stakeholder groups in the process; great issues were raised and addressed. Your directional numbers show the need for investment and a significant return on that investment in just a few years. You are confident and proud, as you should be. Now it time to lead strategy implementation.
So, why are some people still exploring new ideas? A few are talking about pretty radical ideas like aquiring a hot new company. What is going on? These options for growth were explored during the planning process and it was decided (no, seriously it was fully explored and the entire group agreed) that this sort of option for business growth needed to wait. What is wrong with these people? Are they trying to tear the plan apart?
That is just the sort of call I get within the first few months of wrapping up strategic planning projects. My frustrated client is asking lots of questions: Was the process flawed? Does the management team not know how to stick to their agreements? Is someone trying to sabotage the progress I worked so hard to make?
Nothing this horrible is going on. In fact it is normal.
A strategic plan – even the most brilliant – has a shelf life. Today it can be pretty short. With our highly innovative and competitive environments, the actual plan with all of your awesome strategies and agreements, may be under attack before you can even roll it out across the company. Don't worry, it is still great work and it will still drive the plans and priorities, but not in isolation. Good leadership teams learn to balance execution against their strategic plan (deliberate strategies) as well as examine and integrate new insights into their plans (emerging strategies).
The reality is many organizations lack strategic management practices to effectively cull, explore, debate and if appropriate, integrate these ideas into your plans. Your management processes should include time to regularly (with greater frequency these days) seek out ideas and insights for exploration and then carefully debate the strategic value in modifying your deliberate strategies (those that are born from your Strategic or Annual Planning processes) with these emerging strategies. But this is exactly what needs to be done as part of implementing your new strategic direction.
So, don’t lose your confidence in your plan or your process. Aikido that new energy your great planning process has unleashed throughout your organization. Stay focused on the well-articulated end-game of your strategic plan, but stay flexible and disciplined at modifying it with the same brilliant leadership you displayed in building your plan.
Worried you don't have the strategic management practices you need?
Take our free online quiz to find out.