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Straying from the plan

2 min read


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 150,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each Tuesday in our e-newsletter.

Last week we asked: How closely do you think you will follow your strategic plan this year?

  • We’ll generally follow the plan but expect a few major deviations, 76%
  • We’ll follow it to the letter, 12%
  • We may do a few things in the plan but generally ignore it and do something else, 10%
  • We don’t follow it at all, 3%

Planning matters.  When you do face a major deviation from the plan, however, be deliberate and explicit about the choice you are making.  Seek to over-communicate that change to your teams.  You might completely understand the rationale for the shift, but to your teams it might seem like you are aimless.  If you can explain the deviation in terms of the strategic plan and why you need to make the move, you can get the team better engaged rather than leaving them scratching their head.  For the 13% of you who ignore the plan I suggest one of two things — either get focused and start following it or stop wasting your time writing it in the first place.  Your current approach is wasting energy and effort so at least cut down on those inefficiencies.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of ThoughtLeaders.