In the iNautilus Guide for Organizational Navigation wherein I reframe the strategic planning process, I refer to “Organizational Navigation” instead of strategic planning. One of the main reasons for this (and the other new terminology in the book) is to cut through the confusion surrounding all the strategic planning concepts that have become buzzwords. “Strategic planning is stationary, but Navigation is strategy in motion.” Organizational Navigation encompasses strategic planning but goes much further (strategic planning + execution).
Too often strategic planning is viewed as an item on a checklist, but that is as far as it goes. Instead, that planning process should be used to guide the organization in significant decisions AND the every-day minutia of operations. If a product/department/idea/course-of-action does not exemplify the core values, support the mission, and progress toward the vision, then eliminate it.
Fortuitously, Zach Tyler (@behaviorhack) posted a meme this morning on Instagram. “Ideas are worthless without execution. Whether the idea is bad, average, or brilliant… Ideas mean nothing until they’re put into action. The game is persistent execution, not persistent thinking about execution.” A strategic plan without execution is just an idea, worthless without execution.
Think about a ship captain. Of course, there is planning necessary for a voyage, including determining the purpose, destination, and route. Navigation, however, involves diligence (remaining mindful of the purpose, destination, and route), course corrections as winds change direction, and dealing with the unforeseen circumstances inherent on any significant voyage. Furthermore, there are times when a captain must make difficult decisions. Do we change direction to avoid a looming storm? How can we make up lost time from a headwind, so our food doesn’t run out? Do we fight or flee from the approaching pirates? Whatever the situation, the captain must decide and execute. Hopefully, he does so without losing sight of the plan.
I encourage you to be your organization’s Navigator. Like a captain uses a compass and map to determine a destination then Navigate to get there, you must use your core values & mission to determine a vision and then Navigate to make it happen.