The Chemistry of Strategy tm Newsletter October 28, 2014

How to get people to embrace the plan

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"John, we have a problem. The team just didn't embrace last year's strategic plan. What changed?” Don was the CEO and grandson of the family business founder. He had always been impressed with how enthusiastically the team pursued implementing each year’s strategic goals. “Something was different about last year’s planning process. Whatever it was, let’s not let it happen again this year.”

Upon reflection, I was pretty sure I’d identified the issue. Last year, the family members of the strategic planning team had met before the meeting and unilaterally decided on the strategic goals for the year ahead. Don, his son, daughter, and niece had all agreed on what they felt the company should focus on in the coming year. However, the "normal" planning process calls for the entire team to develop the strategic goals in a collaborative process after they've updated the  five-year strategy and reviewed current issues.

The fact that the goals were a fait accompli changed the rest of the team’s attitude. They couldn’t embrace the goals, even though they were identical to what the entire team would likely have chosen together. All year, they were perceived as the family’s goals rather than the team’s and company’s goals. Instead of handling every implementation challenge, team members would come back to the family to let them know there was a problem with their goals. (In past years, team members would talk about overcoming challenges with our goals or even my goals. They had a complete sense of ownership.)

People react to decisions differently when they believe they had a real opportunity to affect the decision. People feel respected when their opinions are solicited, understood, and truly considered before a decision is made. They are more likely to support the decision, even if it’s different than the one they would have made if it was entirely up to them. Without consultation, they are less likely to embrace the decision even if it was the same one they would have made.

Create a strategic plan with your team

"It is amazing what you can accomplish
if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry S. Truman

A well-facilitated strategic planning process is a proven way to create a plan that is embraced and enthusiastically implemented by your team.

How long have you been saying that you will develop your strategic plan, but you haven't yet done so? Why? Perhaps it remains on your to-do list because it feels like a huge, laborious process and you haven't the time to spare to do it. Peak-performing companies have a clearly defined strategic plan…and it doesn't have to take long to create an effective one.

John W. Myrna

is co-founder of
Myrna Associates Inc


Create and Communicate Your Strategic Plan

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Big egos hogging credit. Established businesses trying to kill innovation. Media and politicians pushing and pulling. Read it!

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Now available as an eBook!

The Chemistry of Strategy

The best-selling book based on John's 50+ years of business experience.


"John Myrna did a great job. We got so much done! Much energy, enthusiasm and fun. Now we go to work!"

Lee Connor, President,
John S. Connor, Inc.

Myrna Associates Inc.
421 Timber Creek Drive, Athens GA 30605-7027

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