Takeaways from Rock Stars of Strategic Planning

by Jennifer Beever

I attended the Association for Strategic Planning‘s annual conference in Pasadena, California on February 22-24, 2010. I got value from great networking, exhibits on strategic planning tools, methodologies and materials, author book-signings, workshops and breakout sessions. The keynote speakers were outstanding. They truly are some of the rock stars of strategic planning.

Rock star guitar

Here are some of my takeaways (note that these are not in order of importance or level of strategic-planning-rock-star-ness):

Dave Logan, co-author of Tribal Leadership, Professor at the USC Marshall School of Business

  • Strategic planning has a “first mile problem.” It’s critical to execute and show some results for strategic plans, but few do this.
  • Micro-strategies create a burst of implementation.
  • Businesses that are demoralized should focus on the assets they have first, instead of on the assets they don’t have.
  • Sometimes an asset that you don’t think is that important becomes a critical success factor (example: followers on social network can be a major factor for marketing communication).
  • When businesses execute based on core values, the values act as a booster for getting results sooner.
  • The micro-strategy process lends itself well to strategic thinking’s nested strategies.

Daryl Conner, Chairman of Conner Partners and Blogger, Change Thinking

  • Number one reason for failure to execute strategic plan is leader’s lack of sponsorship for the plan to change.
  • Strategic planners and plan implementers should spend more time talking to each other over the fence.
  • Winners see themselves as both leaders and students at the same time.
  • In order to change, an organization must have a “burning platform” – something too painful or expensive to continue the status quo.

Charles Kennedy, SVP of Research, ABC Television Network

  • Referencing The Fourth Turning, Kennedy sited the authors’ 80-100 year cycles of American history: 1.) Awakening; 2.) Unraveling; 3.) Crisis; 4.)Heightening.
  • We are currently in the crisis era, which the authors of The Fourth Turning predicted would start in 2005.
  • Each stage in a cycle of history brings new meaning for society and how we tell our stories.
  • In the crisis stage, there are nine new social contexts: intense parenting, rising community, simplicity, gender gap, stigma, survival, secular heroes, urgency, big & friendly.

Robert M. Malchione, SVP, Corporate Strategy and Technology, Avery Dennison

  • Use ring-fence investing on key growth initiatives
  • For OEMs, it’s important to focus on end-users of product as well as OEM customers
  • Transparent communication is critical for innovation and agility

ASP’s annual conference on strategic planning will be in Dallas, Texas, next year – a perfect fit for one of Kennedy’s nine social contexts for our crisis era: big and friendly. The dates will be announced soon; the plan is to have the conference in early March of 2011.

Photo by Artbrom on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0


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