"These are a few of my favorite things....."

Note: This will be the first of a three-part series about what I like to do. By no means is it a complete list, nor all encompassing, but a good starting point.

Do you know how I respond to people at social gatherings when they ask me what I do for work? If I am in a good mood, I sing the title of this blog, with apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein and the Sound of Music.

What I really do is (hopefully) create a better place for people to work. If you have read previous week's blogs, fewer than 30% of people in America do enjoy their work and are actively engaged in same. As a result, it is a target rich environment for me and "a few of my favorite things!"

There are three basic services that I offer:

  1. Strategic Planning;
  2. Organizational Development
  3. Leadership Coordination

Strategic Planning: Everything and anything in any organization must start with a plan. Without a plan, this is what can happen:

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to walk from here?" asked Alice.
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cheshire Cat.
"I don’t much care where – so long as I get somewhere," Alice added.
"Then it doesn’t matter which way you walk," answered the cat. "You’re sure to get somewhere if you walk long enough."

I think those words of wisdom from the Cheshire Cat (Lewis Carroll) are pure genius.  Without a plan for the future; basically, you deserve whatever happens to you and your organization.

Symptoms of a lack of planning or no planning can include:

  1. The organization has difficulty making decisions and sticking to them;
  2. What was working isn't working anymore;
  3. The organization and its leaders are often overwhelmed by frequent, short-term crises;
  4. Frequent turnover in leadership and/or executive staff; and, finally,
  5. An unhappy place to work.

What is strategic planning?
1. Webster definition = A systematic process of envisioning a desired future, and translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives and a sequence of steps to achieve them.

2. My definition = deciding what you don't want to do by using a collaborative compass process with all of the stakeholders that will influence the outcome(s) of the plan.

All too often, when I work with groups wrestling with creating a strategic plan, they invariably have more ideas of what they want to do than what they don't want to do. Combine that with the ever-popular group decision-making model of  consensus to reach agreement and you end up with a muddy, mish-mash, collection of how-to ideas in which no one believes, to which no one is committed, and to which no one can object.

Rather, a better process is to establish "what" the outcome(s) of the strategic plan will look like when the goal(s) is reached and then work on the "how" portion of what the work entails for the quarters, months, and weeks in the coming term of the plan. The last secret ingredient in this process is "voting" - one the best things about living in a democracy is that we can vote for what we want for our future.

Next up in the series;
“Why you must prevent any discussion on the “How” until the “What” is 100% done”.