Tuesday, October 08, 2013

What you mean vs. what you say in your strategic plan

Sometimes, in the strategic planning process, I encounter a situation where someone in the team - often the CEO - says "That's what we want, but we don't want to put that in our strategic plan".  This makes me cringe.  Your strategic plan is intended to be a clear, concise statement of where your organization is going.  There are two possible uses for a blatant omission in your plan - 1) You want to mislead your competition and 2) You want to mislead your customers, stockholders, employees or suppliers.  I could think of a case or two where the first use MIGHT be sanctioned - but, to me, this is also a big warning sign that we are putting tactics in our plan rather than strategies.  The second use is almost certain to backfire - even more today than, say, 10 years ago.  People HATE being misled, and to do so in your strategic plan is about the worst place I can think of to do it.
So...take a look at your strategic plan.  Is the truth in there, or does it contain elements you added strictly for PR purposes?  Why would you be willing to pay the price for something like this?