A Few Guiding Hints for More Effective Strategic Planning

Peyton Patterson is the founder and principal of Peyton R. Patterson Consulting, LLC, in New Canaan, Connecticut. In this role, Peyton Patterson provides consulting support for organizations in the financial services industry in a number of key areas, including strategic planning.

When creating a strategic plan, organizations need to eliminate fuzzy, meaningless language. Too often, strategic plans contain a lot of flowery language that masks the fact that no strategy is actually provided for the organization to follow. All language should be clear and direct. Organizations may want to ban language such as “leverage,” “synergy,” “robust,” and other empty phrases.

Also, organizations may want to forego the traditional template. While templates have become standard at many organizations, they tend to make individuals focus more on corporate requirements than on what they can do to expand the business. Strategic planning involves thinking critically, not filling in the blanks.

Ideally, strategic planning leads to heated debates and focused discussions. Asking provocative questions can push the team to tackle the issues that really matter. Unscripted conversations tend to reveal excellent, innovative strategies that can really move an organization forward.

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