Strategic Planning Doesn’t Have to Be Painful and Boring?
Planning is vital for the success of your business—no matter how many employees you have. And you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, you shouldn’t. Employee engagement in the strategic planning process is the best way to gain enthusiastic buy-in and support.
Unfortunately, the experience many people have with strategic planning resembles a definition I heard several years ago when I attended a seminar on strategic planning. The speaker characterized the strategic planning process as “a painful, boring, dreaded-but-necessary evil,” while I sat there thinking, “No! It doesn’t have to be that way!” Then he talked about the process being “the sole responsibility of the top leaders in the organization.” Again, I thought, “No, no, no!”
If your experience parallels mine, I invite you to continue reading this blog to discover a much more inspiring and fun approach. Yes, even fun!
A strategic plan done right should inspire its participants and leave a lasting, positive impression. It could even be life-changing.
For example, while I was writing my book, Energize Your Business, I coincidentally bumped into a former client in a restaurant. I spotted Mike and decided to say hello. He was meeting with a partner for a new business venture.
Without skipping a beat, Mike shared with me how important a strategic planning retreat that a colleague and I had presented to his leadership team in 1999 had been for him and his organization. In fact, he opened the notebook on the table in front of him to show me that he still carries with him the purpose, mission, and values we guided his team to create sixteen years ago. What came next blew me away. Completely from memory, and without even glancing down at his notebook, he repeated their heartfelt purpose statement: “to touch those we serve, and transform dreams into reality.” Wow! I’m sure my mouth was hanging open. Then, what Mike said next really hit home: “This has essentially become my purpose in life, too. During our retreat, you brought in the spiritual side of the planning process, which really catapulted it to a higher level than we had ever had before, and we still operate at that same level.”
What if your strategic planning process could be this memorable and durable?
The truth is, planning is vital for the success of your business—no matter how many employees you have. And it has also been my experience that your employees care more about the success of your company—and are smarter—than you think. Every one of your employees has something to contribute to the process, irrespective of what his or her role in the organization may be. Why? Because everyone wants to be a valuable part of something meaningful.
A strategic plan done right will inspire its participants and leave a lasting, positive impression. It may even be life-changing. Done well, the process . . .
- is an engaging, inspiring and fun opportunity to create collaboration and cooperation among all employees
- creates alignment from the top of the organization to the frontline—getting everyone moving in the same direction toward the same vision and goals
- attracts the right and perfect employees and customers, people who resonate with your organization’s culture and aspirations
- energizes and lifts your organization and everyone in it to the next level of success and fulfillment!
If you are a business owner or leader who already has a strategic plan, is it time to dust it off and refresh it? If you haven’t created one yet, maybe it’s time.
And, if you are thinking of starting a business, creating your strategic plan will establish a solid foundation for enduring success, fulfillment and inspiration.
What has been your experience with strategic planning? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Chief Inspiration Officer, Business Energizers a division of TLC
This post is adapted from my book, Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process. Click this link to learn more or purchase:
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