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Monday, December 17, 2012

Strategy Without Change Is Pointless

By: John Jantsch

Next week my staff and I will hole up for an entire day of planning. We do this quarterly, but once a year, we “really” do this. This is our chance to step away from all of those seemingly meaningless little things and think bigger. It’s our day to say what if and why not. It’s the time to set the course for next year and perhaps realign with the vision for the next three to five years. 

It’s a day to ask tough questions, explore new opportunities and embrace changes we need to make in order to realize our growth strategy. For me it’s one of the most exciting and exhausting days of the year, but it’s a practice that I would not do without and one that I suggest every business, no matter the size, commit to doing. 

Below are five outcomes and benefits from holding our annual growth strategy planning day.



Fewer Priorities

By thinking bigger and then thinking realistically about what it might take to overcome the things in our way, we naturally start eliminating things we should not focus on in an effort to make room for only the highest priorities. Our goal is to identify no more than three priority objectives for the year that make us aim higher and stop doing low priority things. 

Embrace Results

One of the ways we get to our short list of priorities is by identifying the results of achieving an objective. By creating a list of “what we gain” if we win and by contrast “what is costs” if we lose, we create the motivation to overcome constraints and stay focused on results as a team. In most cases our stated ideal results become the goals by which we measure our priority objectives. 

Commit to Change

Here’s the thing I know for sure. Strategy without change is worthless. If your stated objectives for the year don’t have you asking – “what needs to change in order for us to actually do this?” – then you are thinking way too small. All growth involves change and you have to commit to how that’s going to happen or your objectives will dissolve into frustrating reminders of failure.