Planning: A No Paper Method
Francine R. Gaillour, MD, MBA, FACPE
approach of fall and the new school year coincides with strategic
planning efforts for many organizations. When it comes to
strategic planning, however, most executives and business planners
concede that many "Strategic Plans" end up gathering
you contemplating a strategic plan for YOUR team, your practice, your
family, or even your own career? If so, consider the "No
Paper Method" I have created and used for some clients.
It is an approach to simplify and focus your planning process and
avoid the risk of creating an obsolete "report" that may
become irrelevant to the organization or to YOU.
Replace the strategic planning process
with a STRATEGIC THINKING process.
aside a day or two with your team (or family, if this is a personal
strategic plan) and structure your dialogue around topics that will
stimulate thinking, question the status quo, and reinforce the strengths
each team member brings to the table. Don't worry about creating
dialogue could invite each person to anonymously respond to this
question: "What could we do differently (good) that would
be shocking, maybe undoable, crazy ---but an amazing kick in the
structured dialogue could also include team development
"segments," which are kicked off with an "opening
line." For example, each person spends time thinking about how
they would complete the statement, "I do my best work
when . . . "
is another opening line: "When I am successful in my work, the
circumstances that supported me were . . ."
Describe what the end vision will look
like---without using words, or sentences.
is where you get out of your head! Rather than
setting "goals" that sound like a financial report, you
create pictures, collages, sculptures, clay models, paper
cutouts---anything that is descriptive or demonstrative, but not
"measurable" in the usual sense. The visual creation
should "show and tell" how and where you want to be in 3 or
5 or 15 years.
example, if you are doing a family strategic plan, you might create a
collage of photos showing travel to those places you want to go,
people you want to meet or visit, experiences you want to have.
If you are creating a corporate or practice strategic plan, you might
include a photo of patients lining up outside your office, or clay
models of you, "queen of the mountain," delivering a new
RULE: the pictures must also depict the feelings you want to
feel in the vision. Do you want to be home by 6 everyday?
Then include a drawing of a clock with that time on it, with you
singing as you walk in the door!
the No Paper Method Works
strategic planning is a mechanism for creating a map for getting from
point A to point B. Straightforward enough, except for two little
problems: 1) Point "B" gets very shifty when we try to
pin it down to words and numbers, and 2) Organizations and teams
are very spotty when it comes to the EMOTIONAL COMMITMENT required to
travel from A to B.
No Paper Method Strategic Planning process described above is a
way to engage people at the GUT level. The creative process
helps people articulate and memorialize WHAT THE VISION REPRESENTS and
how they will FEEL when they get there. Your creation will always be
that reference. There are no "numbers" that might cause you
to shelve it when they become irrelevant a few months down the road.
Furthermore, the method provides individual team members the
opportunity to communicate to each other what their personal
"success factors" are for making the journey.
secret to the No Paper Method is that it creates a very strong
PULL! Having a vision PULL you is a lot easier than you
"pushing" others or yourself toward it.
what about the "tactics" with this approach? Do you ignore
these? Tactics are generally not the problem, particularly not with
smart people! Go ahead and outline a one or two year tactical
plan, but keep it to one page! And be sure to keep your Strategic
"visual creation" highly visible!
you are contemplating a strategic planning process, contact me to see
how you can incorporate my No Paper Method to create a
"pull" in your organization.
R. Gaillour, MD, MBA, FACPE is an executive coach and business
consultant. She is president of The Gaillour Group and director
of Creative Strategies in Physician Leadership. Dr. Gaillour is
a professional speaker on healthcare leadership, technology and
can be reached at (888) 562-7289 or firstname.lastname@example.org