Strategic planning used to be the domain of our senior leaders and board of directors. As I said in my previous post on Strategy Execution, this is one of the reasons that many strategic plans collect dust on the shelves. It was never communicated to the organization.
Why is this so important? Why is it so important for me, as a project manager, business analyst, or manager of any level, to know of, understand and even buy in to our organization’s short and long term strategy?
- Because it is good for your career. I have told many audiences over the past two years that there is a huge opportunity coming our way for managers to fill the void that baby boomers are going to leave in the leadership ranks of our organizations. com suggests that within a few years, 1000 baby boomers will be retiring every day in Canada, leaving many senior leadership positions open and available. Our organizations will be looking for people to fill those roles.The more you can distinguish yourself from everyone else the more chance you will have to progress within your organization. If you want to move up and vie for one of those vacancies, you need to get out of the weeds, see the big picture and embrace the short and long term strategy of your organization. Preparing today for tomorrow by seeking out the strategic plan and embracing the future can only be good for your career.
- Because it is good for your job. Understanding the link between the work we do and the strategic plan, or goals of the organization helps us in many ways. As leaders, it allows us to get excited about the long term objectives and the effect our work will have on the outcome. It allows us to get our team excited about the work we are doing, connecting everyone to the overall objectives. All of this contributes to a happier, healthier workplace for you and everyone around you.
- Because it is good for your customers. Understanding the overall strategy of your organization is saying that you understand the business. When our customers, or stakeholders, understand that we have our eye on the big picture and all the pieces that contribute to it, we end up with more engaged customers, more engaged employees and a better working environment. Ken Robertson wrote in the book The Keys to Our Success, “…managers who focus on business outcomes find that their project sponsors are more responsive, the recipients of the project are more engaged, and the project’s final success is significantly enhanced. They also find that senior management is more confident in their project portfolio when they know proactive decisions are made based on expected business outcomes, not just on a technical team’s desire to grind a project to completion.”
Happy customers means happy employees and happy stakeholders.
- And finally, if you are holding a PMP designation and need those valuable PDUs, the Project Management Institute is requiring at least 8 of the units to come from the Management track of what they call The Knowledge Triangle and strategic planning fits right into that area.
Two choices here: stay in the weeds, do your work and call it a day or work in the weeds, take a break and make an effort to see the big picture and do something good for you, your work and your customers.