Tag Archives: process

Of strategic plans and fear …

Okay, so John Steinbeck I’m not, but there is a correlation between the adage “often the best laid plans of mice and men for awry” and my adage, “not planning because you are afraid what might happen,” in that both speak to what has happened over the course of the last year and to where many still are today.

Last September’s collapse of Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, the near-implosion of AIG, the bankruptcy of GM, the crisis at Chrysler, the FDIC take over of IndyMac, Freddie/Fannie bottoming all were the epitome of the phrase, “the best laid plans …” adage and unfortunately one of the biggest results was that even those of us who weren’t directly affected were all surrounded in an environment of fear because we had no idea what was going to happen.

Fear is a funny thing.  It can drive you to action by activating the fight or flight mechanism or it can paralyze you into not doing anything.  Sometimes in business and given what happened over the last 14 months, not matter which of the responses you chose, you were “dead” either way (metaphorically speaking in this case) but, I’d much rather die on-my-feet and trying to find a path to success than just stay frozen and die.

Last year at this time, the De Pere Area Chamber finalized the first year of what was designed to be a 3 year Plan of Action.  It was bold, it was aggressive, in some ways, it was audacious.  This morning, our Board of Directors approved year 2 of that plan.  It is *still* bold, aggressive and audacious.  Do I, as the C.E.O., have some fear?  Some trepidation?  Absolutely.  But I also have optimism, enthusiasm and excitement for where we are going in the next 12 months and what those 12 months set up for the periods that follow.  I’ll post a link to our new plan in the next day or so.

I heard today reference to something called the Rockefeller “One Page Strategic Plan.”  I did some research and I’m very intrigued.  I think it is a fascinating (and involved) process and one I think our staff and board will go through next year.

Do you have a strategic plan?  Has the fear of not knowing what is going to happen with “this economy” stopped you from planning and thrown you into pure survival mode?    I would submit that is a mistake of gargantuan proportions.  The worst that can  happen if you plan is that you have to change your plan.  If you just hunker down, you will miss the opportunities present in crisis.

Here are the basics of the “One Page Strategic Plan”:

  1. You must have a VISION – A DREAM WITH A PLAN – Most people don’t have visions, they have dreams.
  2. You define 5 Core Values/Beliefs (either should’s or shouldn’ts)
  3. Define the Purpose of why your business exists
  4. Come up with one  Big Hairy Audacious Goal – do NOT think or say “we never could do” – DREAM. And it should freak you out a little bit with “oh my God that’s big”
  5. Define 5 actions we can take in the next quarter to: a) Live your Core Values/Beliefs, b) and c) Reach toward  Big Hairy Audacious Goal   Achieve your purpose
  6. Define 5 – 3-5 year targets ( key thrusts/capabilities)
  7. Your 1 year goals
  8. Your quarterly goals (financials, critical numbers (goals or $$ based))
  9. Individual accountabilities towards these goals

I also heard and fell in love with these 3 questions that every business owner/C.E.O. should ask, answer and right down to have in front of you (perhaps on the back side of your One Page Strategic Plan).

This last year has not been just a financial shake-up, it has been a crisis of faith and confidence.

Ask yourself:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you believe?
  3. Why are you doing this?

I’d love to hear your answers and thoughts – let me know!