Strategy Hacks #8...don't know = can't do


Sometimes people just don't know any better. No excuse, of course, if you are in a leadership position, but if you don't know that you don't know it is not a surprise that you can't deliver. Quality strategic planning does not happen by itself nor come easily even if you know what you are doing. So dealing with basic ignorance is our eighth hack towards strategic planning.


Excuse #8: No relevant KSAs
There are specific knowledge bases, skills and attitudes (KSAs) required to conduct effective strategic planning, foresight and communication programs throughout an organization. Sometimes these KSAs are internally available but dispersed within the organization. These individuals can be effectively realigned and refocused as required but finding and forging these teams itself takes specific KSAs and experience.


Diagnosis:
This one is easy: no one knows what you are talking about if you ask how the current corporate strategies were created and how they relate to organizational goals over the next two, five and ten year horizons. The glazed look will be compounded if you ask about sector disruptors and corporate proactivity.


Treatment:
Often these leaders are wholly unaware of their ignorance in this fundamental requirement of leadership: planning and acting strategically on behalf of the organization's future. This is an example of blind-spot bias that is dangerous to corporate results. It always surprises me to see how far up into the corporate and board hierarchies this illiteracy persists. Once pointed out, true leaders realize their deficits and move quickly to either attain the needed KSAs, or bring them into the organization through consulting contracts.


Often it is useful to have outside change agents coach the in-place leaders which speeds attainment of initial positive results and avoids the cynicism and burn out that comes with time-lagged change or strategy projects. Experienced consultants can help organizations get over change resistance, react better to initial failures and align support within and beyond the organization for any required transformation process. Outsiders also provide plausible deniability for worried leaders.

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