It’s Not Rocket Science, But….

Leading an organization to the achievement of the mission is really a simple process, right?

First, you establish the mission, vision, and values.  You agree on value creation. Then you set a strategic direction and plan. From there, you create operational plans, and finally, you lead/manage your team through execution of what you all agreed to do. Like I said — simple.

There are many versions of this pathway, with many labels, frameworks, etc. But here is the question:

Why is it so difficult? Why does the pathway dead-end more often than not?  Why are our employees not engaged?  Why are things out of alignment?

There are many reasons, of course. The top one I have seen is this:

Getting the sequence out of order.

You can’t start with the operational plan, or individual performance work plans.

But you also can’t start with the strategic plan — and THAT is where many organizations go wrong. The #1 request I get for service? “Can you come facilitate a strategic plan for us at our board retreat?”

My blunt answer: “No, I cannot. A meaningful strategic plan should not be built in a single day, especially by people — no offense — who are only very close to the organization about a couple of hours a month.  However, in a day, I CAN coach you and your board through the setting and clarification of your strategic DIRECTION. Once that is clearly established and agreed upon, you are ready to move into the planning phase.”

I recall a meeting of a group of community stakeholders who were gathered to discuss the establishment of a new 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to meet a specific need in the community. Guess where they started — “We need a Facebook Page.”

First, I laughed out loud. Then I realized the person was not joking, which compelled me to nudge the group upward, to the strategic level of the conversation. Why are we here? What do we hope to achieve by establishing this entity? What will we need to have and do in order to make a difference? Getting a Facebook page was not the level of having or doing at which we needed to start.

It’s about sequence, like a rocket launch.  You don’t start at the countdown!

Challenge yourself to change your PERSPECTIVE, and create impact!

Have a great week!

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