• Shayne Leslie

Why your strategic plan won’t fly

Unsplash Jeff Sheldon

Getting the strategic plan to fly starts with revitalised boardroom behaviour. Regular focussed and specific board and management training on board and business action skills is vital.

Call to Action for CEOs

  1. Educate, then educate again… keep educating your board and yourself.

  2. Don’t spend all your directors’ education monies of seminars and conferences. While they’re good for some things, nothing beats investment on tailored half-day to two-day inhouse programs.

  3. The first strategic plan you create will take some time in taking off. This will be permanently delayed if the board don’t (won’t?) revitalise their boardroom operations.

  4. Same goes for you. Your strategic execution will become snared if you don’t change the way you report your actions and results.

Getting your strategic plan off the runway? Think of the jet fuel required to get even a small plane off the tarmac. Lot's of energy and effort is required; a transformation of ideas on the ground to flight.

Right now, I see a significant issue where, after much time, effort, research, and planning, when CEOs arrive at the strategic execution stage, the board believe that they are exempt from transformation.

CEOs become paralysed when new programs or ideas are derailed by poor board behaviour. Poor behaviour includes decision making that is at odds with the strategy, or refusal to improve boardroom operations.

Transformational strategy cannot equal status quo boardroom behaviours.

Doing what you did before and hoping for a different result is the fast route to insanity. An untransformed board means strategic opportunities cannot be taken to their conclusion. An untransformed board cannot make new types of decisions for new markets.

Critical aspects that board must consider include the following.

Ensure alignment as a board and as a business

When key investment decisions are required, lack of alignment may stymie important decisions to the enormous frustration of management.

Alignment does not mean unanimous. While board members need to agree on the strategy they will enhance their decision-making if they engage in rigorous debate in which divergent points of view on how the strategy should be implemented are discussed.

Let's face it. Some directors are never going to speak up at the right time, or are dissuaded by speaking up by more dominant board members. Regular board training can bring to surface any suspected areas of misalignment.

Most common areas for misalignment I have come across lately is conflict of interest, failure to understand profitability, and basic rules of boardroom operation such as directors incorrectly using general business to question CEOs on operational matters. All of these are a barrier to strategic transformation.

Continually improve the board's effectiveness

The ability of a board to lead organisational strategy is greatly dependent on whether it is effective as a decision-making body. Investing in rigorous board performance reviews will ensure the board is enabled to transform the organisation. A key approach is ensuring the board have the right people who are monitoring effectively, wisely, and consistently.


Board and management will experience challenges in pursuing opportunities for transformation. Change is hard. The lessons form part of the strategic narrative.

Download my Training Brochure here

SHAYNE LESLIE | www.integratedgovernance.com.au | 0412 241 773


#boardskills #facilitation #governancetraining #management #planning #reporting #strategicplanning #strategy #team #vision