Last week I mentioned the informal survey I had conducted to find out what friends in many different fields thought about strategic planning. Of the responses I received, the negatives outweighed the positives by a wide margin. Here are some of them. Do any match your feelings when you hear "strategic planning"?
"It's a waste of time." People who work for an organization are probably already trying to "do more with less," and the thought of a long series of meetings that likely "go nowhere" is filling them with dread and possibly contempt. They might feel, for example, that their input is being sought as lip service only, and that the leaders are "going to do what they're going to do anyway." If this were the case, it would certainly be a waste of their time to participate.
"Corporate B.S." According to Urban Dictionary, this is " new language that looks and sounds just like English, but is actually lies and propaganda spewed forth by big corporations." Take this example from the Corporate B.S. Generator: "fungibly synergize agile convergence." None of these words in itself is problematic, except possibly the verbification of synergy, but together? Meaningless.
"Brace for layoffs." If employees think a strategic planning exercise is an expensive and long, drawn-out way to justify laying people off, the implication is that managers and CEO's are cowards who point to graphs and numbers as a way to avoid uncomfortable words like "we think you should consider retirement" or "we've decided to take the organization in a different direction." It's dehumanizing. (This tactic was mercilessly satirized in the film Up in the Air.)
Clearly, not all organizations behave this way. Check in next week to find out how you can be sure yours isn't one of them.
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