How many of you would jump in the car for a family vacation to the Grand Canyon without a map? A GPS? A reservation for a place to stay and maybe a guide book about what to do when you get there–either online or paper version? Probably very few of us. Especially if we are taking our families and want them to be safe along the way. We think ahead and lay out what we need.
If you are going on a ski trip, chances are you pack ski apparel and equipment, right? However, if you are taking a cruise in the Baltic Sea, ski equipment probably takes up too much room.
Why then, after we write a strategic plan, do we fail to plan out what we must do to get to the future state we aspire to? It really isn’t much different than a trip.
1. Where are you going? As the saying goes if you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there?
2. What speed are you comfortable moving at? For a vacation are you a sightseer or are you going to fly to maximize your time there. For the business, how much change can you handle well at any given time? How much will your resources support? Is there a critical path that requires you must complete one step before you can competently tackle another?
3. What do you need to take with you, and more importantly what DON”T you need to take? This is a tough one for strategic journeys because businesses rarely like to leave anything behind. Can you imagine what your suitcase would look like if you did that for a vacation? Take your whole wardrobe because it might be needed or just because you like it? As silly as that sounds that is exactly what we do when we only add new initiatives and never consider stopping anything. Times change and not everything is valued in the same way it once was. Do you remember the computer game Oregon Trail that required you to decide what to bring with you on a cross country covered wagon trip? If you didn’t have what you needed, you died. Of course, you weren’t entirely sure what you needed because you didn’t know what problems you would run into. Or think about the first time NASA sent a man to the moon. What did they need to know to adequately prepare. Because don’t forget, the mandate was to return him safely to earth. The key to figuring it out is homework. The more you know the better you plan. The better your plan the higher odds for a good return.
The strategic plan isn’t finished until you have mapped out the journey to success!