It’s 2018, how will you lean into the future?

Writing a plan is 10% of strategic planning. It’s about getting people to “lean into the future.” ~Kathryn Scanland & Doug McMillon (CEO of Walmart)

Several years ago I came across a quote about publishing a book: “Writing a book is 10% of publishing a book.” I can’t recall who said it, but I’ve thought of it often. While it applies to publishing a book in the 21st century, I think it also applies to strategic planning. Especially in today’s constantly changing environment that requires entire organizations (and that means everyone) to change and adapt more quickly than ever before.

Coming off of the holiday shopping rush, we’ve seen several retailers pivot and attempt to keep Amazon from dominating the holiday shopping season. One of those retailers being Walmart.

Doug McMillon Walmart CEO said, “Given the effects of inertia, we need people to lean into the future even more than other companies might. We’re trying to move large numbers of people to change their established habits. We do that by being in a constant educational process. We set goals, we meet face-to-face in groups and individually. We give people things to read. People learn in different ways. Some say they really get it when you show them a case study. For others, it’s more conceptual.” (HBR, March-April 2017)

In a few sentences we learned a snippet of what Walmart is doing (the other 90% of planning) to ensure their strategy isn’t gathering dust on a shelf or not making it out of the C-Suite offices.

  • We need people to lean into the future
  • Change established habits
  • Be in a constant educational process
  • Set goals
  • Meet face-to-face
  • Give people things to read
  • Learn in different ways

Maybe your organization has a strategic plan. If so, how are you helping people to lean into the future? It doesn’t really matter if you’re a large for-profit, like Walmart, or a small non-profit, we live in a day and age when we all must lean into the future and focus our attention on the other 90% of strategic planning – bringing people with us on the journey – helping everyone to lean into the future.

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