Strategic Planning for LeadershipStrategic planning is all the rage. Turn the page on your favorite business or professional journal and you are likely to come across a reference to strategic planning, if not discover a full-blown article on the subject. Some will tout the merits of strategic planning with the implicit demand that every top-flight organization will, of course, have one, while in the next journal another author argues that strategic plans are rarely followed and therefore are not worth the time and energy to produce.
They are both right. Strategic plans can be produce revolutionary transformation in your organization both by aligning your team by virtue of a concerted process and by producing a universal game plan. Strategic plans also tend to sit on the shelf once completed and never see the light of day.
If you wish to ensure that your strategic planning effort achieves that level of transformative power you aspire to while at the same time minimizing the chances that your plan goes unused, then build into it a “strategic plan for leadership development.” Let me explain what I mean.
The overwhelming presumption about leadership in Western culture is that leadership is just something that one either has or does not have. Organizations operationalize this assumption both in their hiring process, as they seek the magical, fully formed leader, or when they simply demand their current managers “just step up.” Both perpetuate the myth of the born leader. Instead, we know that leadership is an acquired skill, one that must be as carefully studied, practiced, and mastered as any other human skill. Thus, your strategic plan should not fail to contain an intentional plan for how you will develop the leadership capacity and mastery to achieve its vision for mission. No matter your strategy, a new level of leadership will be required. Why not then weave into the very fabric of the plan itself a well-crafted plan to grow your leaders?
In this way, at the conclusion of your strategic planning, you will have both a Strategy and a clear Plan to get there!