Monday, April 9, 2012

Guest Blogger Marta Siberio on the Role of Leadership in Strategic Planning

Guest blogger Marta Siberio is back! Today she's writing about the role of the CEO during the strategic planning process. You can read Marta's previous posts in this series, on readiness for strategic planning here, and the benefits of strategic planning here. (Note: this post has been updated.)

An important ingredient of successful strategic planning is an organizational leader who sees the need for planning, is open and flexible throughout the process, and considers strategy as a dynamic activity (not a set, unchanging plan) that she must continuously hone. Here are a few things to consider about a leader’s best roles before, during and after a strategic planning process:
  • Before: CEOs need to assess organizational readiness for strategic planning and they need to help key participants prepare for the process. Boards may need some education about strategic planning to understand what will be expected of them; staff needs support to find the time to be involved and to collect the necessary data to support effective decision-making. In addition to solid preparation, CEOs are uniquely positioned to catalyze the energy of participants around the planning process by underscoring the importance of aligning the organization’s work to its values and core purpose.
  • During: CEOs are best as open, flexible, engaged participants, and not leading the strategic planning process. Expect a strategic planning consultant to partner with the CEO to shape and modify a process that allows the CEO to be a full contributor. As curators of organizational value, CEOs see strategy development as an opportunity to define what the organization will and won’t do, and should be ready to negotiate the discomfort that surfaces when asking these kinds of fundamental questions. 
  • After: CEOs recognize that strategy development is a continuous process; you don’t solve the need for strategy with the completion of a plan. The CEO encourages development of the plan by methodically challenging the assumptions on which it is built. CEOs model strategic thinking all the time (not just during the planning process), establishing the expectation among their leadership team that strategy is a part of everyone’s domain.
Guest blogger Marta Siberio is the principal in Marta Siberio Consulting, which has provided organizational development and strategic planning services since 1993. 

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