The prevailing model of strategic planning begins with the formulation of vision and mission statements, goes on to internal and external analysis, then the development, refinement, implementation and measurement of objectives, and finally, the importance of starting the process over again.
One thing is conspicuously absent from the strategic planning process– exactly how people figure into it!
Without people any business or organization just an abstract concept that represents little more than a few tangible assets. Even when business books include human beings they are treated as a non human entity, best defined by financial statements and various objective analyses, instead of psychological or sociological concepts.
Robert Lawrence Smith, a leading Quaker business thinker says this about the people who work in business:
“The working force is made up of a number of individuals each having a personality different from the rest. They are sensitive as we are to encouragement and discouragement, as easily aroused to anger and suspicion, to loyalty and to effort. One may deal with things without love; but you cannot deal with men without it…”
That’s what this is about – infusing flesh, blood and human spirit into the strategic management process.
People Principles and Organizations
Textbooks tells us that a mission statement is “a declaration of an organizations ‘reason for being”, and that a vision statement “answers the question ‘what do we want to become?”
That’s fine, but a huge component is being left out – the people who comprise the organization -- the “we” in “what do we want to become”. Do people automatically adopt the values of the mission statement? Can values and attitudes be changed simply by a show of hands in yet another meeting? Can managers agree on vision and mission and then lobby employees to hop on the bandwagon?
That’s how it’s done at some companies, and it doesn’t seem to...