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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…for Strategic Planning

Rarely does any battle plan survive contact with the enemy. And in business, this is also true—unpredictable market forces interact in such a way that can quickly render a plan obsolete. This is true of one year, horizon one, planning, and especially any 3- to 5-year strategic plan. Hence, organizations need to build adaptive capacity to ensure their people can be more agile in the face of change.

As the New Year begins, leaders should be considering the following strategic planning questions:

  • What worked in 2018, and how can we accelerate our advantage?
  • Where do gaps remain, and what are the insights behind these that will allow us to take appropriate action?
  • What disruptive forces have emerged, and how should we address these?
  • In which areas have we chosen to just show up for, or even abandon, so that we can do other things amazingly well?
  • If we were starting the business today, where would we place our bets?
  • Is the organization deployed in such a way to deliver on our differentiated advantage—and what shifts should we make?

The best companies “ritualize” the habit of coming together often to revisit questions like those above—and involve key leaders, and ideally high potentials, in the conversation. At a minimum, even testing the current plan through an “operational rehearsal” is prudent, as it can highlight risks and untapped opportunities.

Indeed, it is that most wonderful time of the year…and it all leads to very real business financial success—this year and many years to come!

About the Authors

Duke Maines
Duke Maines has a history of success in enabling people and businesses to unlock opportunities to transform their organizations. As a commercial leader, Duke built and led what is widely considered the best sales organization in beer industry at Boston Beer Company—brewers of Samuel Adams.   After starting his own brewery, he established Oregon Ale & Beer Co. as a top ten craft brand within just one year.  All of this came after he paid his own way through University from the proceeds of a start-up t-shirt company.    Recognizing his true passion—and personal purpose—he began a career in learning and development which led to critical experiences in all areas of OD including leadership development, talent management, recruiting, workforce planning, change management, and internal communications.  In this capacity, Duke has  led change management efforts of two of the largest mergers in history as well as found unique and creative ways to help companies tap into their core purpose to accelerate culture transformation efforts.   His past positions include the Chancellor of Challenge, Emir of Excellence, Optimus Prime of Talent Maximization, and the Dark Over Lord of Learning.  These “official” titles provide a sense of the style, passion, and energy, Duke brings to any organization—especially those who want to enjoy life while they deliver exceptional results.

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