Here’s the secret ingredient missing in most business plans

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Any entrepreneur, business leader or manager knows that creating a plan is not enough to make a business successful.

In fact, a plan alone is not enough to make anything happen…really. I can plan a whole host of things that either a) never happen or b) don’t work/ likely cannot be achieved. Why? Because plans often lack a number of important components – components which turn a plan into a well thought out, focused, strategic vision.

For example, if a vision is focused on things like “being the best” or “recognized leader” or even “number one choice”, it won’t provide the kind of guidance employees need to make it happen. Any vision that is worth the time even considering, needs to be something that actually guides the way people behave, run the business, etc. in an informative way.

Secondly, a plan alone often does not include a good, broad look outward to help guide the organization through the unknown contingencies of the bumpy ride to “success”. Does the plan take into account customers and the potential for them to have shifting needs that are difficult to predict? Does it consider how unanticipated changes in technology could alter the course?

I have found that many of the brightest, most talented leaders and managers have a hard time explaining what it is that makes plans or visions, strategic. Yes, the word “strategic” is likely used (a lot) at your organization but when plans are simply labelled as “visions”, they cannot get us there.

What can get us there? Critical thinking can help us see our internal and external environments differently, leading to better solutions, decisions and visions. Agile strategy helps organizations connect the uncertainties of the world outside with compelling and actionable vision while building commitment and engagement on the inside.

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Stephen Friedman photoStephen Friedman is an executive coach, career coach, facilitator, trainer and a facilitator for SEEC’s Certificate in Strategic Agility (starting Aug. 16, 2021). For more information on the program or to register, visit the course website.

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