Strategic planning

THE year is coming to an end and the Zimbabwe budget for 2019 has been tabled. A budget gives us a skeletal and panoramic view of what must or can be achieved. Every blueprint is dead until we put action to it.

SUCCESS LIFE: JONAH NYONI

Corporate leaders should now be thinking of what 2019 will come out like. Some leaders follow the old plans which at times work, but this is the time to review and realign our dreams for 2019.

Loizos Heracleous and Claus D Jacobs said: “Strategy development in most organisations has been dominated by routinised processes of strategic planning as well as structured, functionally oriented managerial debates without an obvious or explicit component of creative strategising.”

The greatest means to being successful or great is being future-minded. It’s impossible to achieve anything worthwhile without a plan.

Failure to plan might mean the death of the future. In reality, by not planning, you have already planned to fail. Some corporates and even individuals are on auto-pilot.

They just wait for fate to drop them success someday. Earl Nightingale, in his radio talks, once said: “Successful people are self-made and only the successful admit it.” All success is born out of deep thought.

As we end the year, it would be ideal to do a self-audit. As a leader, ask: Where am I? What have I been doing in 2019? Where are my results?

What do I need to change to improve my life, the life of others and the future of the institute? What education or self-development programmes should I engage in?

As an individual, ask: What is my plan of action towards my money, mind, marriage, relationships for 2019? What do I want to achieve in five years?

What do I want to have achieved in 10 years? How much worth should I be in 20 years? As you think about the questions above, let me help you formulate your strategic plan.

Cut away rigidity

Most institutes have the same way of doing specific things, and it’s hard to tell them that their year-to-year template is no longer relevant. Management guru Peter Drucker wrote: “People in any organisation are always attached to the obsolete — the things that should have worked, but did not, the things that once were productive and no longer are.”

In some institutes, you take a report that was written three years back, there are still clauses that are still being used, but with little success.

For example, some years back, I tried to convince an organisation that they should adopt new means to retain their customer base. They told me there was a way or methodology that they were supposed to work with and they continued in their snail-pace approach.

Up to today, they are using that system, but it’s unfortunate that they are on the verge of collapse. This is the case with most companies; they use template planning.
They plan, but they use irrelevant and wrong methodologies.

Have a pilot project

Generally, as we plan, we usually have short-term, mid-term and long-term plans. Before anyone takes on a long-term plan, it would be ideal to test it before committing to it entirely.

Make a short-term action plan as a pilot programme so as to see the possible benefits or loses. This test-run tells us what works and what does not work.

Use the right language

The danger is that in trying to craft a strategic plan, we tend to be so wide, yet will achieve little or nothing from what we are talking about. Some companies would say, for example; “We want to be a world class entity in providing goods and services.”

That phrase might be so big yet very fuzzy. Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. State specifics; have timelines and state who should be in charge for the plan to be a success.

Ask hard and right questions

Having tabled your strategic plan as a company, you need a progressive and probing debate on the same document.

It’s unfortunate that some leaders draft a document somewhere and shove it into the throat of employees to swallow without expecting to be questioned how realistic the plan is. Is it SMART enough? Does it bring solutions to specificities?

Do an audit

Ask yourself: Where am I? At times we tend to think of ourselves what we really are not. As a company, make both an internal and external audits.

This gives you a picture of how you are perceived in the minds of people in juxtaposition with what you think of yourself. This helps to make necessary adjustments.

Be future-minded

The strategic plan becomes futile, especially with leaders that are hinged on maintaining and managing systems. Life has sharp turns, twists and changes, and the leader should know what to do.

As others ask the question: What? The leader asks: Why? That gives the proper answer possible to a current issue or for future encounters.

The “why-factor” liberates leaders from just doing a project because it’s their work requirement. They do it because it’s relevant and worth it.

Parting point: Amber Hurdle once said: “A plan is not putting you in a box and forcing you to stay there. A plan is a guide to keep you on course, efficient, and safe.”

Jonah Nyoni is an author, success coach and certified leadership/business trainer. He is the author of Inspiration for Success and Success Within Reach. Email: jonah@classicmail.co.za. Twitter@jonahnyoni.