Don’t Stand for B.S. Strategic Plans

January 19, 2016

At least once a week I read a strategic plan that feels like it was written by a random-corporate-buzzword generator. The lingo sounds fancy, but there’s no substance behind it. Give it a little push and it falls apart.

Here are few recent offenders:

  • We’re going to utilize a best-practice project management methodology to accelerate cost cutting.
  • We’re going to use a brand marketing framework to increase awareness.
  • We need to build a culture of innovation.
  • We will accelerate product launches by strengthening the R&D team.
  • We value every voice in the organization.

To be fair, these statements aren’t inherently bad. They do mean something and can be successful strategies. But only if a clear and thoughtful plan follows. In the case of each of the five statements above there wasn’t. Rather, there were equally vague sets of implementation steps that sounded like they came from the same random corporate buzzword generator.

The problem is rampant. Why? Because we let each other get away with it. We become numb to the jargon. We sit in meetings and listen to these ideas with blank stares. We might push a little, but often we get more jargon back as the answer, so we just let it go. The BS just piles higher.

Take back your own planning documents, your meetings, your daily interactions. Call people on the BS. Demand they’re clear on what they actually mean. The steps, the timelines, the risks, the open questions.

If you aren’t clear on what someone is saying, there’s a good chance no one else is either.