Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with some of the smartest people I know to talk strategy and social innovation in service to our work in the world. Together these thought leaders gathered to discuss ways to advance the ideas and actions that will propel our strategy for eliminating barriers and improving economic and social well-being. It was a thrilling exercise. So often leaders get caught up in the minutiae of day to day that they don’t take the time to call on the expertise of their colleagues and advisors and consumers to help them think through the most important aspect of their work: strategy. I am lucky, indeed, to be able to call on a brilliant cadre of thinkers.
We had a great meeting. It reminded me of how important it is not to operate in a vacuum but to bring the best minds one can find to keep us on track, tell us what we don’t know or can’t see, consider different points of view, and help move us into new thinking and advance our general connection to the future. It ensures that our “plan” is truly a living and dynamic blueprint that is ever evolving to meet the needs of the individuals—and the society—we serve. It helps us to develop new approaches and gives us confidence to move ahead.
I will confess that I don’t really like the terminology “strategic planning.” I think that it suggests a static state. To me, strategy is about action, about innovation, and about change. Our strategy is really about practicing social innovation—excavating ideas, solutions, and pathways that create true social value and that allow for original solutions to a societal problem that are truly more efficient, more just, more relevant, more sustainable, and that have more impact than what is currently being tried.
Working with a group of advisors is always a good idea. What made this meeting different is that I was surrounded by innovators and thinkers who have taken huge risks in their careers and have made enormous impact in their respective fields. I am a fan of risk—with the obvious caveat that it must be managed and pitfalls identified. Working alongside this group of thinkers inspired me to continue my own push forward to identify those precise interventions that will continue to challenge the stigma and eliminate barriers.
We plan to engage others and grow and expand the group of advisors who are willing to share their experiences and help us achieve our goals, moving to cities and communities across our footprint. I look forward to these conversations as I am made better by them every time.
What do you do to make sure that your vision turns to reality and that your planning never becomes stale?