Making Strategic Planning More Collaborative

Many people regard strategic planning as a necessary evil, but we’re here to challenge its bad reputation. Strategic plans are a blueprint for the upcoming year.

Creating them is a profound opportunity to innovate, develop your role, and consider the bigger picture for your company. And for us as leaders, the strategic plan is what guides our focus, our energy, and our team. Making your strategic planning process more collaborative is critical to your success.

You may be asking if collaboration is really a necessary component to large-scale strategy development. Isn’t leadership about, well, leading? Shouldn’t your team let you (or your boss) do that work and guide them towards success? These are fair questions, but allowing broad involvement in strategic planning will actually yield more effective implementation and ultimately enhance results. Here’s why:

  • Being part of the process is beneficial. Strategic planning is about considering not only the big picture, but also all of its moving parts. Involving people in different positions and/or stages in their careers is a form of professional development that benefits everyone. People who haven’t thought much about larger business challenges will have an opportunity to do so, while the company gains knowledgeable, informed employees. Win-win.

  • People in different positions have a lot to contribute to strategic planning. Don’t underestimate your employees. They already have good ideas! And since their roles within the larger operation vary, they will bring different—and productive—perspectives to designing strategy.

  • People want to contribute. They want to share their ideas. They want to be heard. Being more inclusive in the strategic planning process is a way to heighten morale and professional fulfillment while fostering productive conversations.

When you make your strategic planning process more collaborative, you’ll find that when you weave different perspectives and ideas into the strategic plan, your organization will be able to implement it much more effectively.

This year, take time to engage with all levels throughout your organization - add their voices, involve them in scenario planning, consider their feedback, and ultimately strengthen your strategy, together.

Weekly Uplevel Practice

Ask yourself: “Am I taking a top-down approach to strategy?” If your answer is “yes,” consider how you can change your method to be more collaborative. How can you involve more people in your organization? How can you obtain their contributions and feedback throughout the process? Here’s an example:

  1. Develop the strategy.

  2. Share it with people who were not part of the initial planning, and get their feedback.

  3. Incorporate the feedback into the next version of the strategic plan.

  4. Share the new version. Get more feedback.

  5. Develop a new strategy, informed by the latest feedback.

  6. Repeat until you’re ready to finalize the strategy!

Voila! Your strategic plan is now collaborative and that much more attainable. Get ready for a productive year!

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