“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains”.
Strategic Planning is bedeviled by ideas, models, silver bullets, pixie dust and answers to all that ails us. Most of it ends up confusing us, overloading our thinking and diverting us from what’s important. So, what are we to do? Remove stuff and trim to the essence.
Try these simple rules:
Three and No more
Three goals with three supporting objectives under each, and no more. Three goals seem to be a manageable number. Of course, each goal needs several work packages or objectives and again three seems a reasonable aspiration; each of the three objectives will require multiple action plans or projects to make it successful.
The mathematics can become daunting very quickly: three goals x three objectives = nine objectives. Each of the nine objectives may have five or more projects. Before you know it, you have 3x3x5 = 45 projects to accomplish the plan.
I know three goals and three objectives per goal seems constraining, and it’s meant to be. Overloading plans with too much activity is one of the biggest faults I see with strategic plans. It’s no wonder many plans don’t get completed.
The Simpler, the Better
If you come back to your plan two weeks later and you don’t understand every word, every acronym, every concept, it’s too complicated. Keep It Simple!
Work the Plan
Over the years we’ve seen many ‘credenza creatures’, unloved and unused, sitting quietly gathering dust. If you are going put the time and energy into creating a plan, use it and make it a vital part of managing your business or not-for-profit.