It’s only fitting that I quote “The Wizard of Westwood” as we enter Day Two of March Madness. You don’t need to be a sports fan to appreciate the power of Wooden’s words. We’re all guilty of spotting failure and not doing what it takes to change what led us down that path. Wooden won 10 NCAA national championships within a 12 year span, 7 of which were consecutive. It’s clear that Wooden spotted failures and changed quickly to affect the outcome of the next game. Let’s examine how this idea can apply to strategic planning.
In one of our AchieveIt white papers, “7 Ways Your Strategic Plan Will Fail” we highlight some common reasons strategic plans are unsuccessful. One of the 7 ways your plan will fail is if you assign a single individual to manage your entire plan. I’ve seen this issue time and time again during my tenure at AchieveIt. I’ve learned quickly that planning is a team sport. If you treat your planning process like a tennis match you’re designed to fail. The better analogy is that strategic planning is like a college basketball game. There are 5 people on the floor but they appear to operate as one. They’re able to accomplish great things as a group by harnessing the talent of the individual.
If you hired someone into your company you have to be sure they’re the type of person that you can rely on. If you trust the people you work with then you’re able effectively delegate the various aspect of your strategic plan. In organizations that have one person managing the entire plan I would imagine there’s an underlying trust issue at play. The term “team-player” is completely overused in today’s business lexicon but just because it’s overused doesn’t make that quality any less important. I love the people I work with I’m convinced they’ll always provide me with the support I need to accomplished my tasks. We all spend so much time at work each week, it’s important to spend it with people you respect and trust.
I know what you’re all saying as you read this, “Get to the point!” OK here it is: If you fail, fail as a team. Take those learnings and constantly improve. This is the only way to survive in a business environment where, many times, you have one shot at success. Try to keep your failures small, learn from them and keep moving the needle. You can’t plan for every scenario but you have direct control over your reaction to setbacks. Lean on your team and you’ll do great things together.