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Uncomfortable Strategic Planning

By Barry Jenner
A good article in the January-February 2014 Harvard Business Review highlights the challenges of strategic planning.

Detailed plans may make managers feel good but too often they matter little to performance. Strategy is about being uncomfortable, taking risks and facing the unknown. There are three simple rules:

Keep it simple - summarize in a One Page Plan
Don't look for perfection - Strategy is not about finding answers. It is about placing bets and shortening the odds.
Make the logic explicit - Be clear about what must change for you to achieve your strategic goal.

The Mindshop process of facilitated Strategic Plans needs only ten or twelve pages headed by a One Page Plan.

The key is in implementation.

Many benefit by having external discipline from a facilitator and mentor.

Alex Ferguson Lessons for road transport businesses

By Barry Jenner

An article in the October 2013 Harvard Business Review describes Sir Alex Ferguson's management approach. It gives great insight into his enormously successful methods. 


Start with the Foundation - he modernized United's youth program.

Dare to Rebuild Your Team - Even in times of great success he worked to re build his team.

Set  High Standards - and Hold Everyone to Them - "Adversity gave me a sense of determination that has shaped my life" "I made up my mind that I would never give in." "Players didn't accept teammates' not giving it their all. The biggest stars were no exception."

Never, Ever Cede Control - "You can't ever lose control  - not when you are dealing with 30 top professionals who are all millionaires." "Responding quickly, before situations get out of hand, may be equally important to maintaining control." "I tended to act quickly when I saw a player become a negative influence."

Match the Message to the Moment - He worked hard to tailor the words to the situation. He gave reprimands right after the game. He would not wait until Monday. "I'll do it and it was finished."

Prepare to Win - "United practice sessions focused on repetition of skills and tactics." "The message is simple: we cannot sit still at this club."

Rely on the Power of Observation - As he became more successful.. "he increasingly delegated the training sessions to his assistant coaches. But he was always present and he watched."

Never Stop Adapting - He "demonstrated a tremendous capacity to adapt as the game has changed." "One of the things I've done well over the years is manage change. I believe that you control change by accepting it." "That also means having confidence in the people you hire."   

For transport operators, what are the lessons?

Can you write down one take away from the eight above?

Now, write down one action you will take to improve in each area.



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