Cost effective delivery of planning expertise

Small to medium size companies need the same planning processes as do their larger competitors.  Often, the need for planning is even greater in the smaller company, where the risk of being able to effectively respond to an ever-changing marketplace is limited by internal capabilities.  The problem comes down to the cost effectiveness of delivering this planning expertise to a company already limited by financial and people resources.  It is to this planning gap that enTarga directs its efforts.

To evaluate the level of resources needed to move the planning process forward, a self-evaluation needs to be undertaken to determine what level of internal knowledge about the planning process already exists.  This effort will place individuals and the organization as a whole at one of five stages of learning.   If an organization is serious about developing its ability to create its own future, there must be a way to develop a critical mass of competent people in the required knowledge areas.  This requires an organizational awareness of its level of learning and the development of a learning plan to move forward.  Part of the learning plan is the identification of available internal training resources and acquiring outside resources when needed.  Which brings us to ... 

Roles of the Planning Consultant

Initiating a strategic planning process can be very scary with many new activities that can trigger internal cultural and political hot spots.  It is for this reason that many companies hire a planning consultant to lead the organization through the process, not only the first time, but in succeeding annual reviews.  The role the consultant plays can range from being an outside expert on planning to being actively involved with the planning results. The critical point is that the role be clearly defined up-front so as not to cause any organizational confusion during the planning period. If necessary, the role can shift as different needs arise during the planning process.  Ideally, the outside consultant can team with someone inside the organization to guide the planning team through the process together.  The possible roles of the Planning Consultant are:

  1. Trainer - Explain the process.
  2. Facilitator - Provide assistance in moving through difficult phases.
  3. Coach - Provide active direction throughout the process.
  4. Strategist - Actively help set strategy.
  5. Advocate - Actively pursue certain ideas.
  6. Stakeholder - vested interest in results.
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Transformative Networking connecting change leaders to enable self-organized grassroots change.

Next Steps While still conceptual, transformative networking offers the possibility of leading change through the networking of those already interested or involved in similar initiatives, effectively tearing down existing silos of practice that exist across disciplines and fields of work.  The next step is to develop a proof of concept built on the theoretical underpinnings above, possibly using Google Wave as the collaboration platform.  Included will be identifying the minimal structure and governance required to enable self-organization within the network while not constraining what might emerge.  Join this initiative and help create the future of organizing - networking communities of interest.    

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Last modified: July 19, 2009