“Leadership requires courage, pure and simple.”
Good leadership is at a critical stage in our society. Without it, we are lost. With it, we are effective teams and societies. The Act2 philosophy is that for leadership to be effective, it must be thoughtful, directive and questioning. For when leaders are thoughtful, they consider all perspectives and come to a conclusion that is best for their people and their organizations. When leaders are directive, they make decisions. They don’t let fear come in the way of taking a position and working with their teams to ensure that all are following that position. And direction and action yields results. When leaders are questioning, they are listening and open to new ideas. They don’t blindly accept but rather they consider what has been, what could be and what might be the best direction for those organizations and teams that they are leading.
People often ask us if leaders are made or born. At Act2 we believe that leaders are born because everyone has the capacity to use leadership skills in some form or another. It’s a question of recognizing that ability and nurturing it. Everyone has something to add to their organization. Many people think that leaders should be charismatic; that they should stand out in a crowd; that they should be inspirational. While many leaders have exhibited these traits, very often leadership is quiet. And if you aren’t watching, it can slip right by. So we ask people to watch… to recognize leadership and nurture it. Because very often you can miss it. And then you have missed a real opportunity for your organization.
On Strategic Planning…
Q: Why do strategic planning?
A: Well, the old saying of “if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll get there”, paraphrases one of the most compelling reasons to do strategic planning. Setting a direction and a course for your organization to follow ensures you will have goals and achieve them.
Q:What is ‘visioning’?
A: Visioning is the process of imagining a realistic, but as yet unachieved, future for your organization. It is critically important for an organization to do visioning because it gives your team an idea of what the organization must accomplish. And, if you work your vision into a solid strategic plan, each team member can see where they can contribute to the organization’s vision which is a powerfully motivating and engaging thing.
Q: As consultants, why doesn’t Act2 Strategists just interview us and then recommend a strategic plan for us? After all, you’re the experts.
A: There are two main reasons why we don’t ‘just interview’ you. The first is, that it is your plan. No one knows your organization like your leadership team. No amount of interviewing could possibly bring us up to speed enough to give us the qualifications to write your plan. And while it is our job to ask questions of you to allow you to consider options, the best choices are the ones your leadership team believes in.
The second reason is that the strategic planning process is as important as the final strategic planning document. By that we mean that the time you take to discuss your organization with your leaders, listen to their ideas and engage the team in constructive debate is time very well spent. Everyone hears what is necessary and eventually comes to similar conclusions together. At the end of the process, the ownership of your strategy is acutely felt by all those who took part because it is stamped with their ideas, their visions and their plans for the future.
Q: How does your process work?
A: We sit down with each organization to understand what their planning goals are, who the leadership team is and what they hope to achieve for the organization. Oftentimes, there are different reasons for laying out a strategic plan. The most important thing to have, however, is consensus among the leaders of the organization that it is a critical thing to do. If the team is not completely on-board, it can be a very counterproductive process.
We then ask you to compile information about the current state of your organization for presentation to the team. It gets everyone ‘in the same place’ and tells your organization’s current ‘story’. After that we examine mission, values and vision to make sure everyone is on board and then we begin working through the process of writing strategic goals for four areas of focus. From there we develop an overview of your strategy that we then put into a concrete action plan with owners, timelines and costs. This action plan forms the basis of your actionable strategic goals over the duration of your plan.