The strategic roadmap

I was invited to a session yesterday on the development of a strategic road map for our community and region, a pathway that will eventually lead to us being a global model for sustainable living in the north. Before we get to the summit we need to plant our flag on two other peaks first:  Mount Resilience and Mount Sustainability.

Spread out over the expanse of an entire table was a brilliant map containing myriad circles (outcomes) and squares (actions), clustered around themes, but all pointing toward resilience and beyond to sustainability and finally, to being a global model.  As a large group of community leaders, we were testing the various outcomes, discussing whether the words were right or if there were any gaps.

It was a fascinating process, and being a visual thinker, it provided an amazing new way for me to organize strategic thinking.

If you think of it in personal terms, your roadmap might include a high-level outcome of being "a happy, healthy, successful person".  One step back, you might have a "dynamic and loving family life".  In order to have that, you need to have "a strong set of family values and traditions", and so on and so on.  Eventually, the outcomes go far enough back that you land at an action: "Eat together as a family every Sunday night", or "Go to church every week", or "Do a family financial plan".

The key idea in this process is having a clear understanding and consensus about the end state you desire.  You have to be seeking the same destination, even though it might be way off in the distance, beyond the horizon. The other key principle is that change is precipitated by action.

"Are you planning to plan, or are you planning to act?" someone asked at the beginning of the meeting.

Robin Sharma says that "It is the little things done consistently that make the biggest difference."  That sentence changes completely just by changing one word:  "It is the little things you talk about consistently that make the biggest difference".  No! It all starts with action, one small step in the direction of your desired future.


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