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Why Your Strategy Process Doesn’t Work – Part 2

Bob Caporale thought leader in product strategy and product management training leader

Bob Caporale

July 20, 2016

In Part 1 of this series, I did a little bit of complaining about the current strategic planning “process” that I see being used within far too many companies. In Part 2 of this 3-part series, I am going to explore one of my two proposed solutions: passion.

One of the telltale signs that your current strategy process is in need of an overhaul is when some large population of people that go through that process hates every minute of it. And why shouldn’t they? Often times, the goals that they have been tasked with addressing are completely unrealistic, 100% top-down driven, and accompanied by that incredibly overused and overly demanding statement, “Just make it happen.”

What I wouldn’t give to find the person who wrote that little gem of a phrase into the handbook of great managerial wisdom!

All of these conditions set up would-be strategic presenters for nothing more than caustic “gotcha” sessions, devoid of any pride of ownership, accountability, or – yes, you guessed it – passion.

A strategy shouldn’t be a plan to achieve someone else’s unrealistic and already overcommitted goal. Instead, it should be the answer to a challenge: “Here’s where we want to go, now let’s collaboratively figure out how we can get there – together.”

Most business or portfolio owners love what they do. They have a passion for the products that they manage and a love for the services that they provide. But when we remove ownership of the overall goal or, worse, the overall plan to make those products and services more successful – not on the company’s terms but on the customers’ terms – then we suck every ounce of passion out of the exercise and replace it with reluctance. And that’s when everything begins to fall apart.

The answer, I believe, is to harness the passion that most business managers feel for their products and give them the ability to set their own strategic goals. Let them put together their own plans for the future; confident in the belief that these managers want nothing short of maximum success for the products and businesses that they love so dearly.

In my book, Creative Strategy Generation, I outline a 7-step process for developing a strategy that uses the same exact process that I use to write music. The reason that I chose that particular analogy was to inspire people to approach the strategic planning process with the same level of passion and excitement that they might have for something they do out of pure enjoyment. I don’t write music because I have to; I write it because I want to. And it is from that very core that some of the best music has been written. If you think that’s too avant-garde of a concept to apply to business, just think about most any successful start-up company and count how many of them were born out of true passion. I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find too many that weren’t.

When you encourage your strategic planning process to be fueled by desire rather than fear, you will also be enabling the second key to my two-part fix: creativity. In Part 3 of this series, I’ll explore that topic and see how we can tie all of this together to help heal the wounds of your existing strategy process.

In the meantime, if you are interested in learning how you can bring more passion into your strategic planning process, please enjoy the video below

Interested in taking your career to the next level? Learn more about our Sequent Learning Network’s Product Management Training & Advisory can help you succeed. Click to learn more about our product strategy workshops, product management courses, and product marketing training.

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Bob Caporale thought leader in product strategy and product management training leader

Bob Caporale

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