Ellen Shapiro, author of Fad Surfing in the Boardroom: Managing in the Age of Instant Answers, has compiled a fad surfer’s dictionary. Here is her definition of “strategic plan” – 1. a set of analyses, packaged in accordance with corporate requirements, that is undertaken in order to justify a campaign already underway or a budget about to be submitted; 2. A set of analyses, packaged in accordance with corporate requirements, that nonetheless bears little or no resemblance to the real strategy being followed (but that, once printed and bound, can, in a pinch, be used as a doorstop or a book end).
Most people have all had experiences with strategic planning—good, bad or indifferent. It’s understandable that there will be some resistance when “it’s time to do strategic planning again” because of past disappointments and frustration with the process. In order to be successful, future planning efforts must somehow provide reasonable assurances that the time and energy people invest in the process result in changes and improvements that are implemented and supported by leadership. And then we have to deliver on the promise!