When I think back to when I watched movies as a kid, I remember waiting for the “good part.” Whether it was a car chase, the big fight scene or the final defeat of the villain, it always involved some action, the more the better. The boring, long dialog scenes and plot building culminated in the final action sequence, and I wanted to skip to that and see the film’s heroes win!
Strategic planning efforts take the Board and executive leadership team through a process of thinking, clarifying, deliberating and planning for the future. Similar to the action movies I used to watch, all of that development and effort leads toward some final action: action planning. One key to action planning is involving more of the organization’s “heroes” in building the plans. The more key stakeholders (our heroes) we can involve, the better the action planning, provided they have an impact on the fulfillment of the tasks in the action plan and ownership of the outcomes. Make sure to include those who have a stake in the strategy and can help reach success. Effective action planning helps those key stakeholders:
- Visualize the completed plan — what success looks like.
- Analyze the current situation and plan realistically.
- Focus on the team’s commitments and responsibilities.
- Set a clear approach to accountability for tasks.
- Develop a clear timeline with due dates and deliverables.
Covering all five of those points in your planning efforts will give you the best chance of moving from strategy to action. In strategic planning, the final scene should involve as many heroes as possible; don’t rush to get there.