I spent two strategic planning days this week with a company building out their annual plan. Their CEO had the foresight to invite a sharp younger leader from the company into the inner sanctum to see how this is done. It was new to him.
We talked about all kinds of issues, from people strategies to customer strategies to holes in the income statement and balance sheet and everything in between.
We examined bright and dim spots from the previous year and compared them to the year before that to see what progress we’re making. We worked on our own executive team dynamics.
It was great to have the new guy there, and it was great for him too. It transferred some of the company leadership DNA to him. It showed him how to get above the trees to look at strategy instead of concentrating 100% of his effort on tactics.
And at the end of the two days, he talked about how great it had been for him to see behind the curtain and get his mind opened up to a different level of thinking. And it reminded me of the critical maxim in aligning teams:
“People own what they help create”
You can’t escape this one. Planning as an executive team is good, but if others aren’t involved in some aspect of creating the plan, it’s like winking at a girl in the dark – you’re the only one in the room that has any clue about the direction you’d like to see things go in.