“A vision without a plan is nothing more than a hallucination” were her simple but poignant words. Betsy Caine, the founder of Work in Progress, LLC was my coach years ago; this simple sentence has stuck with me ever since. It has been my compass when I needed direction.
I engaged a business coach during an extremely demanding part of my career when my company was growing organically and through acquisitions. Setting priorities, constant change and interruption, hiring new talent to lead recently acquired assets… it was a challenge to be forward thinking and strategic when you were fighting fires all the time. Strategic planning was always important to me and one of my core strengths is being strategic, but at one of the most critical junctures in my career it was more important to create a plan than to use my strategic thinking skills.
I clearly don’t want to under emphasize the need for strategy; leaders need to get their heads above the weeds, survey the landscape and chart a thoughtful course based upon what’s ahead of them. If “strategic thinking” doesn’t come naturally to you, surround yourself with people who have it and learn to recognize this as an opportunity for growth. That ability to look at the parts of your puzzle while it is moving and distill it down to meaningful action steps is essential for success in the C-Suite. But the thing that is even more important for enterprise success is writing the plan, communicating how your employees are critical to successful outcomes, measuring your progress and correcting your action steps as you make progress.
Goals set early in the life-cycle of the strategic planning process will change as conditions, resources and the environment changes. Your plan should not be static; it needs to change as the landscape changes and you need to write it, communicate it, measure it, correct it and continue that same cycle for as long as you’re involved. A quarterly review may be enough for you, but make sure the plan is reviewed. Your broader strategic goals probably won’t change much, but your action plans will evolve. A vision is a must, but so is a plan.
How often do you review and revise your plan?
The VEESSO Series
Part 5 – Build your Plan and Chart your Course