One of the mistakes I see people make in their strategic planning days is for the group to start to discuss what their mission, vision, values, goals and strategies etc are without the group having a shared understanding and agreement on what those terms actually mean.
The result – confusion reigns and the session grinds to a halt
Without the group having a shared clarity and understanding of each term, confusion reigns as everyone is trying to describe a different situation or outcome and it doesn’t take long for the momentum and enthusiasm from the start of the day to grind to a halt.
At this point, invariably someone will reach for their iPhone and start quoting Apple, Face book or Virgin’s mission or vision statement or current advertising tag line and suggest that the group should replicate something similar for their organisation on that basis that “if it’s good enough for those companies it must be good enough for us!”
The thinking seems to be:
- Those organizations are successful because of what they have written as their mission or vision statements or advertising tag line
- If we were to replicate something similar, we too will be on a similar path to success
I think it took those organisations a bit more than a few words on a page to be successful.
More importantly, you are not Face book, you are not Apple and you are not Virgin.
You are a unique organisation and it should be your plan, with your mission, vision, values, goals and strategies, not anyone else’s plan.
Your plan should represent who you are and what you are trying to achieve described in language that everyone in your organisation understands
I like the way the CREATE Foundation for example define their terminology in their strategic plan
Vision (WHAT WE HOPE FOR)
Mission (WHAT WE DO)
Core principles (WHAT WE VALUE)
Their use of every day language helps the participants and reader to understand what they are describing
What does this mean for you?
As a facilitator I know that preparation is key to a successful planning day. So I recommend undertaking discussions prior to your strategy day to agree the terminology that you are going to use in your plan and on the day.
This important step will ensure that you and your colleagues obtain the most value from your time together
So, next time you go to the cost, time and effort of bringing your team together to develop your strategy:
- Make sure everyone understands what they are being asked to describe – the terminology
- Be the organisation YOU want to be and develop YOUR plan to achieve this
- I would recommend an experienced facilitator to help you maximise your time together
Find out more on facilitation here