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?