Strategic planning is how do you get people focused on the future when there are so many problems to worry about today. In fact, strategic planning was my challenge yesterday during a meeting of 50 CEOs, Presidents, and Vice Presidents as they took time away from their organizations. These leaders, who all ran their own companies, were trying to craft a strategy for an industry – and figuring out how they would stay competitive in the following landscape:
- The increase of artificial intelligence
- Consolidation within the industry
- Working with the new administration
- Increase safety and resumption concerns.
Prior to the season, we checked for alignment and found that we were pretty aligned on the overall direction. We conducted interviews with 7 key executives on the following
- Where do we want to be in 2020?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the organization?
- What’s one crazy, wild idea we should pursue?
- What actions are important to focus on this year?
We also conducted a survey with only a 33% response rate to the members at large. The findings were consistent with many strategic planning efforts with results being all over the board. About half of the members wanted the group to stay the same and about half wanted to grow. Much of the discussion focused on the budget – wondering what our target goal was for 2020 and then working backwards from that point. It’s always a challenge to know if you should build from the ground up (what are the top three goals) v. top down (let’s shoot for 2M and then see what happens).
The leaders came up with some great suggestions to focus the organization more on it’s mission, align it’s goals for the future with other parts of the organization, and starting to create action plans to get things done. We’ll follow up with the executive committee next week and keep advocating for taking time for strategy. Because if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there (Lewis Carroll).