Planting a Strategy
I have helped a few non-profit organizations develop plans over the years. The ones that minister to homeless people, Gospel Rescue Missions, have been my favorites for over a decade. In December 2020, I was asked to write an article about strategic planning for a national association of these missions, who rescue people to recover from addictions to find a new life in Christ. Over time, I adapted my traditional planning approach to fit the needs of these purpose-driven places, which deal with more uncertainties, struggle with more complex “friendly” competitors, and have fewer resources than any real business out there.
I haven’t written much about my approach to non-profit planning, but that needs to change. Non-profits have learned some lessons we all need to know. Nowadays, almost every business is struggling with unyielding insecurity, vague new entrants, and fewer resources; I thought this might be a good time to share a few ideas from the article with you.
Strategic Planning is called the art of the general. The premise is to set up a sequence of moves that capitalizes on your strengths and exploit your competitor’s weaknesses so that you win, and they lose in a competitive marketplace. Building a numbers-driven pressuring to win accountability culture is the goal. For decades, this blood-on-the-field military mindset has been the language in organizational strategy development, but with limited success.
A McKinsey Quarterly survey of nearly 800 executives reported that only 45% of respondents were satisfied with the strategic-planning process. Only 23% indicated that major strategic decisions were made within its confines.
Strategic Planting™, which I call “the art of the gardener,” is grounded in the assumption that an organization’s only competition is itself. The goal is to grow a culture that educates and empowers staff to take informed risks and invent a new future by looking inside and capitalize on their unique internal factors.
Strategic Planters focus 100% of their energy and resources on culture building. They ignore “competition,” except to learn from competitors’ mistakes. Creating a healthy life-giving culture with emotionally engaged responsibility is the aim. When a CEO and their team purposefully invest in a growing environment where people know “for sure” that they have the freedom to take risks. When also resourced to invent a future that has never existed, employees gladly take responsibility. Performance improves intrinsically – instead of being manipulated to meet some accountable number. Doing Strategic Planting takes time and hard work, but it is a mind-shift worth considering.
The goal of strategic planning is to improve performance and win. The Goal of Strategic Planting™ is to grow a culture that inspires people to improve Performance and have fun doing it. Winning is a by-product.
Journal Entry: If these ideas intrigues you, here are three conversation points to have with your team as you to contemplate the benefits of planting a strategy:
- Talk about what makes a healthy organization healthy.
- Discuss how your organization’s purpose serves humanity
- Brainstorm the characteristics of a life-giving culture.
If you would like to see a copy of my article “Planting a Strategy, An organic approach to growing a healthy organization,” just send an email, and we will be happy to forward the article link when it is published.
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