Strategic Planning for an Uncertain Future: Playful, Provocative, Passionate


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Successfully address uncertainty about the future by employing playful ideas, provocative questions, and passionate people in your strategic planning.

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  • Celebrate and explore differences – OXO designed kitchen utensils to help people with arthritis, but that means they work better for everyone
  • This gives you a far better understanding of what people are trying to achieve and you can build on people’s ideas rather than tearing them down
  • Strategic Planning for an Uncertain Future: Playful, Provocative, Passionate

    1. 1. Strategic Planning for an Uncertain Future: Playful, Provocative, Passionate Penny McKinlay, Communications Consultant, Saskatoon iStock_000020559793
    2. 2. How can you prepare a relevant strategic plan when you can’t predict the future?
    3. 3. “Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.” Voltaire iStock_000014209924
    4. 4. A plan that is set in stone just won’t work. iStock_00006954191
    5. 5. The business you are in today may not be the business you are in tomorrow.
    6. 6. Netflix went from distributing movies to producing them.
    7. 7. Amazon went from selling books to selling storage space.
    8. 8. i_Stock000004882429 Traditional strategic planning processes that focus on the past, on the numbers, on the status quo are doomed to fail.
    9. 9. Strategic planning can also be intimidating. iStock_000021800401
    10. 10. Stir things up by being: Playful Provocative Passionate
    11. 11. Playful Ideas iStock_000027765789
    12. 12. Take advantage of differences rather than accommodating or ignoring them.
    13. 13. Focus on the minority: OXO designed kitchen utensils to help people with arthritis; that means they work better for everyone.
    14. 14. Change your strategy: If your customers don’t come to you, go to them.
    15. 15. Provocative Questions iStock_000020559789
    16. 16. i_Stock000008993070 “Bold questions force others to get out of their comfort zones and stretch for solutions they normally would never search for.” “5 Power Skills for Discovering Radical Ideas,” Vijay Govindarajan and Jatin Desa
    17. 17. Don’t accept the initial response. Dig deeper to uncover the underlying cause of the problem. Are traffic jams caused by not enough roads? Or is the problem suburban sprawl and lack of public transit?
    18. 18. i_Stock000002913314 Hold a pre-mortem instead of a post-mortem. Step back from your initial excitement about a project and tap into your experience and intuition to get a better picture of how things will work out.
    19. 19. Ask tough questions: • “What will be the impact of this strategy on internal and external stakeholders?” • “What are the top 2 or 3 things that must go right for this strategy to work?” • “What are the drawbacks?” • “What might be its long-term effects?”
    20. 20. iStock_000003660544 Embrace constraint. “Frugal thinking forces individuals to be highly creative just to accomplish routine jobs. It is not about being cheap. With the daily pressures of limited time, resources, and money, it is crucial to help everyone find more creative ways to innovate.” “5 Power Skills for Discovering Radical Ideas,” Vijay Govindarajan and Jatin Desa
    21. 21. “Constraints make you more creative, or at least that’s how it works for me. If you’ve got all kinds of options available to you, then how do you know what to do or where to begin? But if all I’ve got to work with is some wood and cement and maybe a bicycle wheel, I’m ready to go.” Jock Brandis
    22. 22. Passionate People iStock_000020729522
    23. 23. “But we’ve always done it this way.” We kill people’s passion by treading roughshod on their ideas.
    24. 24. iStock_000015702861 • “Could you help me understand how you came to believe that?” • “Could you clarify that point for me with an illustration or example?” • “How does what you’re saying overlap, if at all, with what I’m suggesting?” Try understanding the other person’s position rather than defending your own: The Opposable Mind, Roger L. Martin
    25. 25. iStock_000024612531 Ask teams to pitch their ideas as if they were on The Dragon’s Den. The audience enjoys being the “dragon.” They probe for more information and give in-depth consideration to other people’s ideas.
    26. 26. i_Stock5775468 Ask people to tell a happy story about the future of their organization. The focus is on developing a positive vision and emphasizes solutions rather than analysing current problems. It prioritizes the issues but also provides specifics. “Moving from Strategic Planning to Storytelling,” Roger L. Martin
    27. 27. Employees believe the organization needs a new office. Their happy story will describe classrooms with all the latest technology, a lunch room, and an outdoor patio.
    28. 28. Developing Your Ideas iStock_000020559793
    29. 29. Don’t stop at developing a list of great ideas. Address what needs to be done in order to actually make them happen. iStock_000020559793
    30. 30. You can’t do it all. Take a look at what you should STOP START CONTINUE
    31. 31. Refine your idea by continuing to ask questions: • “What specific capabilities will we need to develop in order for this plan to succeed?” • “If we pursue this strategy, what are we deciding not to do?”
    32. 32. iStock_000020768931 “Resilience is the best strategy for those realistic enough to admit that they can't predict the future with more accuracy than others. Resilience isn't a bet on one outcome, instead, it's an investment across a range of possible outcomes, a way to ensure that regardless of what actually occurs (within the range), you'll do fine.” Seth Godin
    33. 33. Build organizational resilience by being: Playful Provocative Passionate
    34. 34. “think about strategy as a way of dealing productively with life’s inevitable uncertainty, by continuously making and updating your bets about the future.” iStock_00006954191 “Placing Strategic Bets in the Face of Uncertainty,” Roger Martin
    35. 35. Resource Materials Four Tips for Better Strategic Planning, Ron Ashkenas 5 Power Skills for Discovering Radical Ideas, Vijay Govindarajan and Jatin Desa Gamestorming: A playbook for innovators, rulebreakers, and changemakers, David Gray, Sunni Brown & James Macanufo “The Psychology of Tough Decisions,” Debra Kaye psychology-of-tough-decisions?partner=newsletter “Moving from Strategic Planning to Storytelling,” Roger L. Martin “Placing Strategic Bets in the Face of Uncertainty,” Roger L. Martin The Opposable Mind: Winning through Integrative Thinking, Roger L. Martin “Innovation on the Fringes: How ecosystems use inclusion and difference,” Max St John difference/ “The First Strategic Question Every Business Must Ask,” Anthony K. Tjan “Accuracy, Resilience and Denial,” Seth Godin
    36. 36. Penny McKinlay, Communications Consultant iStock_000020559789