MasterClass: To teach critically needed new approach to strategic planning

MADISON, WI — At the core of every leader’s responsibility is anticipating the future and addressing potential issues and opportunities early enough to keep their operation and ambitions viable. While a classic means has long been the process of strategic planning, a multi-year study by Lindsay Foresight & Stratagem has uncovered multiple reasons a new and improved strat planning model is critically needed. Among them, the degree to which commonly used approaches no longer work and thus increase a company’s future risk rather than mitigate it.

Fueled by the findings, LF&S crafted, vetted, piloted and perfected a new and improved strat planning model, now available in half and full day professional development MasterClasses targeted at executives and Board Directors to learn the state of the art model. Curriculum covers:
– Overview of common planning models; pros and cons, what is missing and risks of each.
– Additional risks of typical planning missteps, common vulnerabilities; blindspots to avoid and how.
– The difference between strat planning and operational planning.
– Forecast of emerging marketplace dynamics to account for and SWOT analysis.
– Who should be involved in strat planning; why and how; roles and responsibilities.
– How to now arrive at or refresh one’s vision, mission and core values; company purpose, brand positioning, value proposition.
– Tips, techniques and best practices to tackle planning, insure rigor and effectiveness.

Half and full-day workshops share the same curriculum, however a full day class is customized specifically for the company and allows time for the new model to be applied, giving their initiative a jumpstart.

In describing the new model, the CEO and Chief Analyst of Lindsay Foresight & Stratagem Marsha Lindsay explains: “It’s designed to maximize the odds that a company or brand will be viable, competitive, growing and profitable over the next 3 – 5 years.” Informing the model are three decades of experience leading and participating in strat planning sessions as the CEO of a national marketing firm as well as extensive experience as Director on fiduciary boards of national and regional brands and non-profits. Research laddering up to the new model included an audit of content on the topic from major consulting firms, graduate schools of business, the National Association of Corporate Directors, insights from the LF&S think tank, clients and top executives.

Among Lindsay’s findings:
– A surprising number of executives assume they’re doing strat planning when it’s really annual operational planning. Therefore they are not getting the “future-proofing” they think they are.
– Eight all-too common blindspots prevent plans from being strategic and result in a team paralyzed by indecision.
– Planning approaches often neglect a critical objective: alignment. When not designed-in from inception, the result is disarray, unproductive meetings, executives avoiding participation. The plan does not reflect the best minds or diversity of thought a company should be applying to its future.
– Racing through the dreaded planning process, many execs rely on a previous template, changing a few paragraphs or numbers. This lack of rigor results in anything but a strategic plan.
– Many of the models are demoralizing because they are laborious with steps that are overwhelming. These models originated when the pace of business was slower, the world less complex and categories static.
– The components of many models are no match for the pace of change and emerging marketplace dynamics which companies, brands and leaders now face.
– Those who argue that strat planning is no longer effective and is now a waste tend to be those trying to plan without an approach that’s right for the times.

Executives taught the LF&S MasterClass praise the way it addresses these risks. They cite its clarity, ease of application and enjoyment of the process despite the rigor. They report that plans resulting from the model are particularly strategic and promising in their effectiveness. The President of Northcentral Technical College testifies: “Marsha’s unique and transformative methods helped us hone our vision while becoming more efficient and effective in the strategic planning process.”