How to get the most out of strategic planning

Strategic planning has been a hot topic of conversation lately as companies focus on how to thrive — not just survive — in a challenging economy. Here are my two cents. Strategic planning is all about the questions we ask, the new insights that come into view, and the concrete, smart and actionable outcomes that come about. 

Strategic plans are often several inches thick and packed with data. We absolutely need the data to drive data-informed decisions. And even before we collect the data, we need to know which questions we want the data to help us answer. Ideally the data will lead us in new directions and drive important decisions not just confirm what we already know.

There’s a wonderful story about Albert Einstein proctoring an exam. One of his students was surprised by the test’s questions and said, “Professor Einstein, you accidentally gave us last year’s exam. The questions are the same.” Einstein replied, “The questions may be the same, but the answers are not.”

So whether you’re asking new questions or revisiting important questions you’ve explored in the past, what new answers are you discovering through your strategic planning process?

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