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Strategic Leadership Through Planning…..Not Plans

My husband has a shirt that says planning, not plans. I’m pretty sure this is an inside thing in his tech world but I love the sentiment it evokes for me.

In the businesses that I have led we thrive on business plans. I firmly believe that all businesses need a budget, a forecast, a long term vision, and smart quarterly goals that keep the team focused and profitable.

But, the real benefit of these tools is the process.

The process of planning is where all the magic happens.

This is where we flex our creative muscles, challenge beliefs, and connect with our team. We get on the same page about what’s important and we share in the process of building a company.

This is why it’s imperative that leaders, managers, and operational employees are involved in some part of the planning process.

If decisions are only made at the very top and then cascaded down, the magic is completely lost.

The goals don’t stick.

Visions fall apart.

People do not want to be told what to do.

Companies that exceed goals, innovate, weather tough times, and have a strong culture have an inviting and inclusive planning process that they enjoy doing several times a year.

If this sounds amazing, but also impossible, try using an experienced facilitator to guide the process.

I have led planning sessions for 10 years and these are one of my favorite ways to help a team.