As we open 2017 we find ourselves in a period where new strategies will be launched. Having reviewed past results and trends, choices have been made about direction and resourcing. Inevitably there are camps – those praising the changes (often the architects) and those somewhat uncertain about the direction and more likely the cost in resources and losses to be incurred. At best it is an uncertain time in most organizations – not because of the difference in opinions but because the differences tend to go underground. It may be politically dangerous – or seen as disloyal to dissent.

So who gets to judge? The governance of the organization – usually the board or prominent stakeholders are polled. The leadership team, at least on the surface owns it. The employees are often happy to have a direction – although their enthusiasm is usually a function of the losses to be incurred or the extent to which leadership has communicated they get what is really going on in the organization’s world.

In many cases the strategy is doomed from the get go. Its fate is sealed by change fatigue – a condition of “under-engagement” brought on by previous unkept promises. It is drawn up in a sea of myopia by a team more committed to preserving their status and standing than leading change. Sounds cynical? How else can we explain the frequency with which strategic plans go unimplemented?

Here are five questions to judge the strategy your organization has chosen:

  1. What are the measures of our operations and/or outcomes that matter?
  2. What is the gap between where we are and where our purpose and key stakeholders need us to be?
  3. What is precious that we not only shouldn’t change – we should ardently protect?
  4. What do we see coming that we best prepare to handle – whether we like it not?
  5. What do we do to relieve ourselves of everything else – the legacy stuff that we have always done, resourced and carried?

If your strategy answers questions #2-5 to elevate or at least preserve the measures that matter (question #1) – your strategy is worthy. If it doesn’t, well….