Elephants in the Room

Your Bored of Directors

Every three to five years a ritual is repeated in communities and organizations across America. For local governments and private-sector stakeholders trying to break stagnation or atrophy, strategic planning is a natural beginning point. It just makes too much sense. Our clients appropriately ask, “Shouldn’t we determine our goals and objectives before deciding how to spend money or launch new initiatives?”

The problem is that strategic planning has all but eliminated the strategic thinking necessary to change the path you’re on. It’s an elephant in the room that no longer can be ignored.

Rare are the strategic plans that accomplish any degree of success. Few, if any, ever produce actionable strategies or tactics. The weakest of strategic plans call for committees, further research or the development of subsequent plans. In the end, nothing moves forward until enough time has elapsed to forget the pain of the previous effort before revving up the planning cycle once again.

Three fatal flaws haunt the success of these well-meaning exercises:

  • Assuming strategic thinking, strategic decision making and strategic planning are the same thing;
  • Ignoring the ultimate impact of an unknown future;
  • Failing to understand how to lead while nestled in the grass-roots.

Addressing these flaws can create an economic platform that makes the difference between futility and any hope of influencing realistic economic outcomes. Tired of creating strategic plans that collect dust in a three ring binder? It’s time to address the elephant in the room. Call, text or e-mail Thinkspot to learn how your community’s pursuit of economic progress can break the cycle of dead-end strategic planning. In the meantime, spend anther two minutes to get our provocative take on strategic thinking.