Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Strategic Planning Meeting Game

I go to many of our corporate strategic planning meetings. OK, I go to some of them. And sit in the back. And play solitaire on my PDA. But I digress.

In the process of going to these meetings, I've developed the Strategic Planning Meeting Game. It's a simple game. All you do is pretend you have no idea what your company does and in the process of the meeting, try to divine just what business you're in. Most of the time, our strategic planning meetings are so full of pointless blather about generic process improvement that I can't tell if we make running shoes, sell burritos or develop software.

That's a problem. Our process improvement tools have taken over. We no longer serve the customer, we serve the tools. Is our Balanced Scorecard getting the data it needs? Has everyone developed their metrics? Can we all work from our strategy map? How about our Lean Six Sigma (LSS) process? Do we have enough black belts and green belts? Does everyone have a LSS project?

Whoops, time's up! The meeting is over and we all leave the room. Meanwhile, serving the customer is nowhere on the agenda. All of this nonsense is forced on us from our national leadership who knows nothing at all about what we do. They've been sold a bill of goods by consultants and are forcing it on us. We're fortunate to have a decent Executive Director, but she's being forced to sacrifice her talents on the altar of process improvement. Oh well.

Our ED sacrificing her career. "Oh most wise national corporate leadership, please accept this sacrifice of our valuable time on the altar of process improvement that we might be spared budget cuts. And also that I might take this beard off, for it causeth my skin to itch and, as I am a woman, it maketh me look ridiculous."

Process improvement is a wonderful thing. It's given me a topic for loads of snarky posts.

Update: A quick search of the blogosphere revealed that Clark Aldrich, who seems to want to improve education, has been sucked into the process improvement vortex of doom. Nooooo! Save yourself, Clark!

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