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Entries for the 'Strategic Planning' Category

Listen In -> Strategic Planning #5: A Matter of Perspective

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

When finding one’s way through the forest, it can help to get to higher ground for a vantage point from which to get some perspective.

The final segment of our podcast series on strategic planning has to do with perspective. Perspective and multiple perspectives at that.

The more angles from which you can view a plan, project or issue, the more options you give yourself. Stepping back for the big picture. Zooming in on the particulars. Walking alongside an emerging and unfolding scenario.

Listen in.

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Sorting Through the Voices

Friday, May 16th, 2008

What distracts and overwhelms me when I try to focus are all the voices.

The projects that shout for attention. The connections that whine about their perceived neglect. The calls still unanswered, the thank-you notes yet to be written, and the mail lying unopened, all cry out for my time and energy.

And while all that is urgent make their incessant demands, the dreams quietly begin to fade before I have a chance to capture the essence of their initial power and vitality.

Hence the attraction of being freed to focus on the present. But focus can’t happen in a vacuum. There are too many voices with too many persuasive arguments clamoring like email spam or celebrity paparazzi. I need the perspective of the past and the future to inform the present. To help me sort through the voices. To find my own voice in the tumult and then to speak up and declare what I choose for today.

Catch up on the entire Strategic Planning series here.

Listen In -> Strategic Planning #4: Focusing On The Present

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Yesterday and tomorrow help us choose a better today.

In this week’s podcast conversation, Claudia and I discuss how we have freed ourselves to focus on the present. Reflectively learning from the past and actively designing the future frees me up to laser focus on the present.

Instead of being buffeted from all sides by the demands of the moment, my perspective provides criteria for making choices. Criteria enable us to rank priorities. Priorities enable us to schedule tasks.

Become a more strategic planner today. Listen in.

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Listen In -> Strategic Planning #3: Learning From The Past

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Assess. Adjust. Assess. Adjust. Assess. Adjust.

In this week’s podcast conversation, we find ourselves hungry to benefit from our past decisions. Instead of a black and white, right or wrong, success or failure, credit or blame mindset, we adopt a stance of attentiveness and action.

Crucial to effective strategic planning is the capacity to learn from the past.

We pay attention to what is and is not working and adjust continually. In smaller, more frequent increments, it is easier to learn, change course, recover from mistakes, seize new opportunities, etc.

But only if the past is a source of rich learning. It’s the difference between knowing more and knowing better, capacity versus capability, facts or wisdom.

Listen in.

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Does My Contribution Really Matter?

Monday, May 5th, 2008

A shaper of the future. Wow.

Not me, surely. The forces and players around me are too big and too many and too complex for my contribution to make much of a difference.

If you hear yourself in those words, then consider this: It is precisely because so much is going on all the time by so many that your contribution not only can make a difference, but is absolutely crucial.

The future that emerges from the myriad of choices being made is not set in stone. Every tile added to the mosaic influences what sort of image ultimately emerges. We each need to believe that showing up fully and contributing whole-heartedly is like adding a tile to the mosaic.

If you don’t contribute your tile, who will?

Controlling or Cruising?

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

Toward which extreme would your planning approach tend? Controlling or cruising?

Do you try to control more than may be possible, humanly speaking? Stick to tight schedules even if it means working nights and weekends. Keep everyone on task even if it means writing standard operating procedures for sharpening pencils. Coordinate activities across departments even if it means nagging people several times a day.

Or have you given up on planning? Circumstances change too quickly on the ground for any plan to stand a chance of being implemented. Technology will change, a competitor will undercut your break even price, a key supplier will go out of business, an important team member will go on maternity leave at a crucial juncture. So you cruise. Go with the flow. Use your intuition. Shoot from the hip. Respond to issues as they arise.

(If you haven’t listened to this week’s podcast, take ten minutes now as Claudia and I take on strategic planning as the second segment of our coaching regimen No Excuses Leadership.)

As you’ve probably guessed, both sets of skills are crucial for successful strategic planning. They each address a stark reality leaders face. They each fail when adopted exclusively and universally. There is a vital proactive, aggressive, intentional component to planning. There is also a vital reactive, responsive, perceptive, discerning component.

Where do you fall on the controlling versus cruising spectrum? What have you learned from veering too closely to either extreme?

Listen In -> Strategic Planning #2: Shaping the Future

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

In these fast changing times, is planning worth the effort? Won’t the world be completely different before we get very far along toward our long range goals?

In this week’s podcast conversation, Claudia and I look at strategic planning as a tension between control and change. No we don’t have the control leaders used to enjoy when the pace of change was slower. But neither are we at the whim of the forces around us.

We’re excited because the opportunity to show up and make a difference is huge. Are you excited about your planning efforts?

Listen in.

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Listen In -> Strategic Planning #1: The Tennis Player’s Stance

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

On the balls of your feet.

Both ready to implement your own plan of attack and ready to respond to whatever comes at you.

We begin a new series on strategic planning this week with the metaphor of the tennis player’s stance. We hope you will join the discussion. (This series is the second of three series that will make up our No Excuses Leadershipâ„¢ course. Watch for news about your opportunity to join this new online learning community!)

After the specifics of decision-making, we are going to begin thinking more broadly about where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. We want to develop both proactive and reactive planning skills.

Proactively we want to be choosing ambitious outcomes, developing concrete goals, setting guiding priorities and making the specific plans that will achieve our outcomes.

But we are naive to assume that we have as much control as we’d hope. We have to be ready to respond to what is happening around us. Technology changes, our competitors shift unexpectedly, the economy slows down while we’re expanding. The list could go on.

How do you both maintain a determined, intentional, plan of our own and a stance of attentiveness, readiness and awareness of what is going on around you?

The series will include:

  1. The Tennis Player’s Stance
  2. Shaping the Future
  3. Learning from the Past
  4. Focusing in the Present
  5. The Advantage Vantage Point

Join the conversation. Begin by listening in.

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