Think about what it takes to plan a vacation. You have to consider who’s going with you; what you’re going to do; when you’re going to go; where you’re going to go; why you’re going in the first place; and, how you’re going to get there. In other words, the five W’s and an H (who, what, when, where, why, and how). The same is true when you think about strategic planning in your organization.
As the leader of the organization, you’re the driver or pilot, or engineer (depending on the mode of transportation you select) and the members of the organization are on board (hopefully) and going along for the ride. To get them on-board (i.e., buy-in) requires commitment and preparation on their part. They may have to be convinced, especially if they don’t know where the organization is going and why.
Think about if you wanted someone to go on vacation with you but you did not share the details of the five W’s and the H. Can you see how they’d be concerned and perhaps lack commitment to blindly follow you? To follow blindly in any direction is scary. You can run into trouble, you can get hurt, you can fail and look foolish.
If you want to have the best success with the strategic direction of your organization, get the members involved in the process of setting the direction and then communicate all the details of where you’re going, how you’re getting there, why it’s important to go there… you know… the five W’s and an H.
Fire Chief (ret.) Richard B. Gasaway, PHD, EFO, CFO, MICP
[Note: This posting can also be found on "The Bleeding Edge of Change" at www.Firehouse.com]