As an experienced facilitator, I am often surprised when I sense fear related to the strategic process within organizations.
Initially, I suspected that the fear was based on the obvious unknowns -
- Will my area rank as a high priority for the organization’s future?
- Will my area be outsourced?
- Will I have the skills to meet the new objectives?
- Will I be needed?
- Will I have a job?
However, over time, through interviews as well as observation, we sense that the primary source of fear seems to relate to resources.
- Will the board and/or leadership allocate enough resources to execute the strategic objectives?
- Or, will we be expected to do more with what we have or even worse, do more with less?
Both management and staff express concerns that the current model of “cutting back while adding more” is not sustainable for the organization, leadership or staff.
It seems that boards/executive leadership pay close attention to certain elements of the strategic planning process – mission, vision, objectives and strategies. However, the process often seems to stop before the objectives are reviewed to ensure that they are (1) measurable and (2) reasonable. It seems that other critical elements of strategic planning – time lines, accountabilities, resources and evaluation procedures – are often swiftly reviewed or skipped over entirely.
In the case that additional resources are not available (as most organizations are experiencing in these tough economic times), there are other ways to strategically allocate resources. When you do your planning for the year, don’t just identify your top three objectives; also identify your top 3 “stop doing” objectives. Jim Collins has a great audio clip on “how to stop doing” – listen.
If you’re involved in a strategic planning process and sense that your organization shares a sense of fear related to resource allocation, ask the following 3 questions:
- Do we have a facilitator that is making sure that we address and allow enough time for all of the elements of the strategic planning process (mission, vision, objectives, strategies, time lines, accountabilities, resources and evaluation procedures?
- Do we have a process for effectively measuring capacity of our staff?
- Are we also identifying our top 3 “stop doing” objectives?
><(("> Melissa Laughon
Melissa is a ><(("> Team Member at Catch Your Limit, a management consulting firm with offices in Tallahassee, Florida and Richmond, Virginia. To learn more, visit www.catchyourlimit.com.