As a business and association leader, planning is a skill and a process I have come to know well. In particular, I have developed a process for facilitating the development of strategic plans for organizations that seems to work quite well. As a result, whenever I have the chance to learn something new about planning, I take the opportunity.
Recently, I read a Harvard Business Review blog titled, “Making Your Strategy More Relevant” by Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi of Booz & Company.
The article was great not because of what it taught me, but because of what it reminded me. (And all business and association leaders need to be reminded of this from time to time).
Developing a plan for your organization is not the end game – the end game is achieving your mission and goals. It is creating the value for your customers that only your company can create and delivering that value in a way that develops customer loyalty. The process of planning helps leaders develop a road map to deliver those unique values.
By the way, the road leading to that value creation is constantly changing and full of potholes. So the map (the plan) must change with it or your organization will never reach its goal.
Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” General Eisenhower understood the concept that the process of planning helps people and organizations achieve their goals, not the plan itself. Surely this is one of the reasons he was such a successful leader.
Do you have a stagnant plan that has little to do with the value you are trying to create for your customers or do you engage in a planning process that helps you deliver real value to your customers?