How to Recover from Strategic Planning

Approximate Read Time: <5 minutes

If you are not a fan of strategic planning, join the club. It’s a big club.

Just the name “strategic planning” is enough to put some people to sleep, cause others to start pulling out their hair, or cause others to pull out the hair of nearby sleeping people.

Really…what is it with “strategic planning” that causes these reactions among so many?

What’s the Deal with “Strategic Planning?”

Maybe it’s because “strategic planning”…

  1. Can feel like you are trying to cross The Sahara with neither water nor camel.
  2. Seems like an endless wilderness hike through dripping wet foliage complete with gnats, mosquitoes, and soaked socks.
  3. Can make you feel like a small child trapped in an endless family road trip “vacation” to see the world’s largest chest of drawers. (Yes, there is such a place.)
  4. Hits you with nauseating waves of déjà vu and you find yourself constantly poking the person next to you to ask, “Are you sure – really sure – we haven’t done this already.”
  5. Feels like you are a contestant on a new reality TV show, “Extreme Futility” where you compete with your colleagues to see who can offer the most and newest ideas but, in the end the host just smiles toothily and, with the audience, chants loudly in unison: “See? Nothing ever really changes!” 
  6. Causes you to experience all of the above.

What we’ve learned at Tenacious Change is that strategic planning doesn’t have to be like any of these. First, we don’t call it “strategic planning.” Choosing to call it “strategy planning” is not the only difference but it is an important one. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “strategy” is a noun and “strategic” is an adjective. Further, it tells us that “strategic” is related to or marked by having a strategy and that “strategy” is a careful plan or method. Okay, that’s what Merriam-Webster has to say about it.

Here’s What We Have to Say About It

Our preference for the term “strategy planning” is because we believe it more accurately describes why groups get together to plan. They are getting together to co-create a strategy for moving forward toward positive change and greater resilience as an organization, group, or business. Doing “strategy planning” should be an inclusive, active, engaging, and, even, fun thing for everyone in the group. When it comes to strategy planning, we embrace the spirit and words of those Vermont ice cream entrepreneurs, Ben & Jerry, whose company motto for many years was (maybe still is?) simply, “If it’s not fun, why do it?”

But we’ve added something else to our approach, which we now call Adaptive Strategy Planning™. To be “adaptive” is to be tightly focused on mission but flexible and nimble enough to make timely adjustments in response to both changing external contexts and internal conditions.

A Way of Being and Working Together

The secret to Adaptive Strategy Planning™ is this: strategy planning is a way of being and working together. It is not something you do once, and for all time…or at least for just the next three to five years. To this end, we help organizations, businesses, and groups begin to walk the way of Adaptive Strategy Planning™. With apologies to The Mandalorian, it is a way:

  • To animate diverse, equitable, and inclusive collective change leadership in organizations.
  • To engage and include the whole of your organization, group, or business.
  • To create a plan that is owned by more than just the management, the C-suite, and the board of directors.
  • To create a plan that can stay on mission but adjust how it achieves it whenever needed.

As bad as your strategic planning experience has been in the past, you can start to recover today. Give us a call to learn more about Adaptive Strategy Planning™ and download this additional information from our website.

P.S. If you chose above, you can not only join the club, but you can also be its president! Lucky you!

Recording Update

A recording of our April 19th online seminar, Preparing for Controversy in the Fog of (Culture) War, is still in process. We hope to have it ready to share in the next two weeks because we have work related travel coming up later this week.

In the meantime, enjoy some of our Change Maker interviews on the Tenacious Change YouTube Channel.

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