What are they really thinking?
I recently conducted an informal survey via Facebook, asking this question: What pops into your head when you hear the words "strategic planning"? The results astonished me.
First, the sheer number of responses -- I got over 100 in 24 hours. I had clearly touched a nerve; people had strong opinions and were eager to share them.
I put the responses into three categories -- positive, neutral, and negative. Only 16% reacted positively (mostly friends who do some kind of facilitation work or who have a managerial role in organizations). The neutrals (also about 15%) seemed to understand the need for planning, though they were just, well, neutral, though leaning toward unenthusiastic.
The negatives? Over 60% used such terms as "boring," "waste of time," "corporate BS," "military/authoritarian," and on into "brace for layoffs," all indicating tedium, cynicism and deep mistrust.
This was a small sample size, and it wasn't a scientific survey. But any organization thinking about embarking on strategic planning should understand that some of its members could share those reactions and prepare accordingly.
Next week, we'll look into some of these negative reactions more closely to see how to turn them into positive interactions with your team to allow everyone to go forward in a purposeful way.
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