The Importance of Strategic Planning
Strategic 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. Some will tout the merits of strategic planning with the implicit demand that every top-flight organization will have one. 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 produce revolutionary transformation in your organization. They are effective in aligning your team by 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.
Of course you want to ensure that your strategic planning effort succeeds. You want to achieve 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 Myth of “The Born Leader”
The overwhelming presumption about leadership in Western culture is that it is just something that one either has or does not have. Organizations operationalize this assumption in their hiring process. They seek the magical, fully formed leader. Then they simply demand their current managers “just step up.” Both of these actions perpetuate the myth of the born leader. Instead, we know that leadership is an acquired skill. Leadership 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. Your plan should include 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!