That old standby, the Strategic Plan, isn't going to get you out of wherever COVID (and everything else) has landed you -
there just isn't enough certainty over the long term to start building detailed 1-3 year plans.
On the other hand, if we just keep 'block and tackling' - working through our 1-day, 1-week, 1-month 'let's-just-get-through-this' punchlists - we'll never build a sustainable medium- to long-term recovery.
So, where to start?
Start with a Recovery Blueprint.
I explain what a Recovery Blueprint is, and why you need one in today's video:
(psst: you can also read the transcript )
Running time: 09' 35" Don't forget to leave your comments below!
Hi. In this series of videos have been looking at how we might get our head around building a response to at least the economic impacts - particularly, specifically, the growth and leadership impacts of this current crisis that we're still going through.
And I started way back - what it feels like so long ago, but it was just a few weeks ago - explaining how the word of the day, which is to 'pivot', how pivoting isn't in and of itself enough - that if all we do is merely 'pivot' to whatever we can do at the moment, under whatever the current prevailing criteria are, then we'll simply continue to do a continuing series of head-snapping pivots, and that (instead) we've got to begin - to at least build towards some sort of a more longer term, sustainable response to the covid crisis and what it's done to all of our organizations.
And I think we've seen in the last few weeks how, you know, circumstances do change - just merely pivoting on the day, in the moment to the next change, the next change the next change isn't enough. We need to build something that's more sustainable, more long-term.
Then I think maybe three videos ago in the series I talked about how we had begun to get some elevation. I talked about "Leadership at 5,000 feet", and what I meant by that ( and by the way, if you haven't watched any of those videos they are right below here if you're on our webpage, and I strongly recommend you go back and look at them. They're all relatively short.)
I talked about how leading from 5,000 feet - having just got some elevation from the period of time early on in this crisis when we were triaging - you know, when you will recall when we were all just at runway level, doing what we could to get ourselves through the day, through the week. Back then - in March - we were building, you know, one day / one week punch lists. Then we got to the point where we could build a 30- day plan. And now we've reached this sort of five thousand foot level, where we've got some elevation. We can see some of the near-term horizon. It's not all right in our face anymore.
We're nowhere near the 30,000 foot level, so we can't yet begin to build the types of strategic plans that would have been our response to forward planning in past times. That's just not doable because the landscape has changed so much.
And so in the last video but one I talked a little bit about what tool do we reach for if we can't go build a strategic plan at this stage because we haven't got 30,000 feet elevation? What can we do at this sort of five thousand foot level that we're leading from at the moment?
And I briefly went through the fact that it's not a tool, or even a suite of tools. Zoom will not be our savior to be blunt, you know, even the best suite of remote working tools not going to be what will get us back to where we were before.
What we need is a Blueprint, and today in this video. I want to talk a little bit about what I mean by that.
What's a blueprint? Why is it different from a strategic plan?
Well, a couple things - four things, to be precise, there are four things that a blueprint has. But first of all before I tell you what those four things are that our blueprint has, let me tell you what it is. It's a roadmap.
It's an executable roadmap to launch, grow or lead your organization to where you want it to be.
So if you're thinking of launching something in this season, (I've got a video about that -go back find it, it's in the series.) I don't recommend it (launching a new venture in this season), but I'm here for you, if that's what you're going to do. Then you need a blueprint that will get that launched successfully and sustainably.
If you're leading an existing organization, and you want to grow it back to where it was - and hopefully beyond, well beyond, you need a Blueprint. A blueprint is a actionable roadmap that will get you there.
If you're not in charge of an overall organization, but you are a leader, then you need a blueprint to help you lead out of this current crisis and into the medium term and then, eventually, into the long-term.
In other words, a blueprint is what will get you from 5,000 feet to 30,000 feet. And then you can begin your one, three, five year strategic planning.
So let me talk about the characteristics of an effective blueprint.
First of all, it works from first principles and eschews recent trends.
Let me say that again: a blueprint works from first principles, but does not take account of recent trends. Strategic plans are mostly (people say they shouldn't be - yeah, I get that - zero based budgeting, know all about it) but 98% of strategic plans are based on recent trends and build on those. A blueprint doesn't do that. It starts from first principles.
So you can't take the statistics for growth in the industry or market you serve over the last few years, because they mean squat at this point. You've got to build from first principles.
The second aspect of a blueprint is that it's got to be customizable and I'll tell you specifically what I mean by that.
I'm looking at a two acre lot just right in front of me from where I'm recording this, and I could decide to build something there, and I could just get myself a blueprint by mail order and start building. Or I could do something a little more sensible which is to get a blueprint made that takes a kind of the fact that we're 350 feet from the bay down there; that it floods from time to time; where the winds come from; what the land looks like in terms of it's elevation, and I could build something from where I start from - from where I am right now, and the blueprint that you need needs to start from where you are.
The third thing is it's got to be flexible in execution.
One thing's absolutely for sure. I guarantee it. Nothing that you or I are going to put into an executable roadmap for the next six months to a year is going to work out the way we project. That's just not going to happen.
And so your blueprint has got to have built-in flexibility so that as things begin to roll out and they're different from what you've planned, you've got options, you've got alternatives. You've got a different option you can select.
Fourthly - finally, it's got to be extensible.
And I mean something very specific by that at the moment. Right now, there's no point taking a blueprint and trying to rebuild a skyscraper. Now is the time to rebuild your foundations - or at least check them and make sure they're okay, then build the first floor, the second floor, the third floor; stop. Breathe.
Regroup, see how things played out the way they are. Re-attack - build a fifth, sixth, seventh floor. So your blueprint has got to be extensible. It's got to get you to a point where you can stop, rest, then start again, move on and not lose ground in between times.
So whether or not you're looking to launch something new, grow back your existing organization, or lead from within your organization, I want to suggest to you at 5,000 feet You don't want to start making big strategic plans right now because we just can't see that far into the future. You know as well as I do the half life of news information right now is very short - things are still changing radically week by week.
What you need is a blueprint.
I'm going to start next week and show you a specific example. I realize I've given you a framework. that's a little bit academic in the way that I've presented in this short video. So in next week's video I want to take you through, on-screen, I'm going to screen-share with you and I'm going to take you through a specific blueprint.
In the meantime, what I'd love you to do is to scroll down in the comments and tell me what you would like a blueprint for specifically. What do you need a blueprint for if I or someone else could hand you a blueprint? Is it to launch your dream business, or to launch the not-for-profit that's going to change the world. Is it to grow back the manufacturing business that you had that was going great guns back in February? Is it to get your church back to some degree of cohesion, the way that it was before? Is it to lead your team of four, five, six people whose morale has been shot over the last few weeks, or they're just struggling to cope with the pressures of virtual working? Just scroll down and leave me your comments. Tell me a little bit about what you would like to see in a blueprint for you.
My name is Les McKeown - despite everything, let's have a great week.