Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Your Strategic Plan is Useless

Those are the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, a five-star general in the United States Army and the 34th President of the United States.

“Argh!,” you might be screaming, “are you telling me that my organization’s strategic plan is useless? Not to mention our marketing plans and other plans? Did we waste a lot of time and money on something worthless?” Despair not! Let’s take a closer look at what is going on.

“Plan” is a noun.

Eisenhower is saying that plans (i.e., a noun, a thing) is useless. You know what? That makes a lot of sense. Nine times out ten, it seems, the plan is little more than a written document (i.e., a "thing) that gets put aside:

“Planning” is a verb

How can you convert a useless plan into something worthwhile? How can you put it to work? Let’s go back to what General Eisenhower had to say about plans. Here is the complete sentence:
Ah, what a difference a verb makes!” Notice the emphasis on the verb, on action! In other words, the situation isn't so hopeless!  You can take your written plan and actually do something with it: here is a step-by-by process you can use to engage staff and volunteers:

Begin by asking staff and volunteers how much they understand about the plan.

Find out what questions and concerns they have about the plan.

Make your best case for how the plan will make a
meaningful difference in the lives of your members.

Make sure you get a reality check about the feasibility
of the plan by asking about implementation issues.

Find out where your staff and volunteers stand.
Are they ready to support the plan? If not, find out why!


Put the emphasis on action! Ask staff and volunteers,
"how do we hit the ground running with this?"

So, what's happening with your strategic plan? Isn't time to put it to work?

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