Communal decision making and buy-in have been significant business trends over the last few decades.  While this was once a welcome change from pure authoritarianism, it hasn’t evolved successfully across all industries.  The harsh reality is that a consensus of everyone’s opinions and inputs doesn’t always lead to the best outcomes for your business.  To keep too many cooks from ruining the soup, it is important to draw boundaries around strategic planning management sessions.

Let’s face it – at the end of the day “everyone” isn’t responsible for the future of your firm.  The responsibility for the success or failure of your organisation rests on the shoulders of the leadership team and/or the board of directors.  Since they must face the consequences in the spotlight, effective strategic planning management needs to put these same responsible parties front and centre when designing strategic initiatives.

This isn’t merely about being hierarchical.  The leadership team at your firm was put in place due to their expertise and depth of experience in your industry.  A large part of their value lies in the free exercise of their talent on behalf of your firm.  Tying them up in lengthy open house talking sessions or feedback gathering forums is a flat out waste of their time.  You want them to be evaluating key data points and analysing your options as an organisation without the chaos and distraction of groupthink.

Now, this isn’t to say that your strategic planning management rules need to transform your firm into a dictatorship.  Nor are we implying that there aren’t good insights at multiple levels of your firm.  It’s just that if you want to make the most of your internal resources and be time-efficient in your strategic planning management, you have to draw boundaries around the process that keep it from being bogged down.

How can you put those boundaries in place without causing unnecessary drama or internal upset?  One very effective way is by supporting your strategic planning management with is support from a neutral third party, such as Wellmeadow.  This approach will help focus away from individual personalities and group politics back toward the process at hand – designing and updating the strategic initiatives for the firm.  With it clear that the process and outputs are what is important, strategic planning management teams can tighten up the process without sacrificing support for the final strategic vision.

Whose voice really does need to be heard in the strategic plan?  Which group inputs are essential for evaluating next steps?  What outside sources need to be consulted to create an impactful vision?  Wellmeadow can work on behalf of your firm to answer these questions and bring just the right voices to the table, eliminating noise and inefficiency from the strategic planning management process.  The core facts and key data points will be highlighted with tangential issues and irrelevant items stripped out to allow more effective planning sessions.

Communal decision making and building buy-in within the firm certainly have their place.  However, that place isn’t always within the strategic planning management framework.  If you are getting less than you want from your strategic planning management systems, consider looking to Wellmeadow to help you draw boundaries and bring out the strength of a core strategic planning team.

About Us
Wellmeadow Limited is a management consultancy firm in Shropshire, providing business support to firms across the West Midlands. We provide a mix of non executive director support and interim management on a part time basis for a variety of organisations, but mainly privately owner-managed firms (especially family firms). If you would like to chat over a business challenge you are facing for no fee, then we would be happy to speak to you and give you some advice on a no obligation basis. We understand that a decision to work with a firm like us will not be taken lightly, and may seem quite daunting. It’s like recruiting a new director. Have a look at the about us page for some more information on how we work.