“Tis the Season – Strategic Planning is in the air!

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It is that time of year again when organizations think about doing strategic planning.  Some even go so far as to set an off-site session in some remote location, usually tropical, to do “Strategic Planning”.  

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Does your company do an off-site where they establish the strategic plan for the business going into the next year?


Does your company include the budgeting process or do this as a separate entity from the strategic plan?


Do you include the budget, done together or separately, as part of the strategic plan?


Do you include all 3 strategic resources/resourcing – People, Processes, Finances – as part of the Strategic Planning?


What do you do once the Strategic Planning Session is over:

  • Who owns it?
  • Who incorporates it into the business?
  • How do you measure business performance from it – people, processes and finances?


Is the strategic plan delivered to the whole business?


Does the strategic plan establish 3 to 5 core business strategies that everyone measures to and against?


If you are honest, do you know the answers?


Unfortunately most businesses, inclusive of leaders, which is why 90% of strategies fail due to poor execution (source: Harvard), do not know the answers, and worse yet, the rest of the business does not.  Let alone know the that a strategic planning session even took place or what the heck it is and why they should care!


If you are not measuring and managing to and against the same core, top 3 to 5 BUSINESS STRATEGIES, then what are you measuring and managing against?


I dare you to ask the questions, to yourself, your leadership team, your business, and be honest to not evaluate, yet listen and learn and then do something about it!


This in of itself is sad.


So, ‘Tis the season to do Strategic Planning – what is your season, reason and result(s)?


So much can be learned from the movies.  The above, the reason we plan, put strategies together and how.  What is good, bad, indifferent and most importantly how we change to accommodate.


Introduction (Written by Josh Dunlop | Posted in Entrepreneurship)

Movies are a great way to learn from others as stories, fiction and non fiction, are taught to the viewer in an easy to understand way. There’s a lot to be learnt from these stories as they show you how exceptional people who have come before you have done it.


The Godfather

An offer you can’t refuse.

One of the greatest films in the world based on the best book I’ve ever read. The Godfather is the story about the growth of a small family business as it becomes the largest organised crime family in New York, fighting off opposition at any expense. The Godfather and his son Michael Corleone are the brains behind the family and this film gives you an insight into what it takes to become one of the most powerful family businesses in the country.

Glengary Glen Ross

Lie. Cheat. Steal. All In A Day’s Work.

In the fast paced world of Chicago real estate, competition and incentive is what decides who’s the best. That’s why they’re having a little sales competition – First prize is a Cadillac El Dorado, second prize is a set of steak knives, third prize is you’re fired. With stakes that high, and the pressure on, the salesmen show that they’re willing to do anything it takes to succeed in business, but the most interesting part of this is film, is what exactly that is.

Wall Street

Every dream has its price.

In the life of an ambitious young stockbroker, Bud Fox will do just about anything it takes to succeed, and for him, that includes a little bit of insider trading. See what happens when the desire to succeed takes over your life and the motto of ‘Greed is good’ directs how you do business. But what happens when you’re pushed to your limits and asked to do something you can’t or won’t do? Suddenly everything comes to a head when Fox is asked to help do something, not only illegal, but morally reprehensible.

The Game

There are no rules in The Game.

What do you get the guy who has everything? Nicholas Van Orton (played by Michael Douglas) is a wealthy San Francisco banker who’s life is wrapped up in his business, which has left him as somewhat of a loner. His brother Conrad gives him the gift of a lifetime, which would prove to change his perspective on the world and the way that he’s going to live it. When bad things start to happen to you, you start to question what’s really important in live, business, success and money, or actually living?

Boiler Room

Motion creates Emotion!

After entering the stockbroking profession to impress his father, Seth Davis, a Queens College dropout, soon realizes the huge earning potential ahead of him. But with commissions much larger than any other company, Seth soon learns that not everything is what it’s cracked up to be and he’s forced to face the dilemma of money and greed vs. morals and legality. For any young entrepreneur starting out in business, it’s a very real possibility that you’re going to face moral dilemmas and the way that they’re dealt with in this film is very eye opening.

Jerry Maguire

The rest of his life begins now.

This is a story about a man who’s at the top of his game; beautiful partner, the biggest clients, lots of respect. But then he decides to step back and question it all and proposes his new thoughts to the rest of the company, which ultimately ends in him losing it all. Everyone turns his back on him, except for one, very volatile client, Rod Tidwell. From here you see Jerry examine what it really important to his business and life and works towards bringing it all back together again, only this time, the way it should be.

Trading Places

Take two complete strangers, make one of them rich the other poor… just watch the fun while they’re… Trading Places.

What happens when you take the rich and the poor and make them switch places? A social experiment ran by Mortimer and Randolph Duke, brother and owners of a commodities brokerage firm, proves to be very interesting when the switched pair run into each other. A life changing event for both of them, poses the question of what’s more important in life, friends and love, or money and power?

Office Space

Work Sucks.

When your hypnotist dies just after they’ve put you in a state of complete bliss, you can’t help but have a refreshing outlook on life. If there’s ever a film to make you want to get out of a desk job in the corporate world, then this is it. Peter Gibbons is a man who can’t help but be promoted as he consistently starts to slack off and do things his own way, but trouble starts to arise when his new careless nature starts to lead to him stealing from the company in a much bigger way than he expected.

Pursuit of Happyness

Based on a true story.

This is a real life story of a man who believes so badly in a product that he can’t sell that he ends up losing his house, his wife and his money, being left with just himself and his son. This in itself is an important lesson to be learnt, but it’s the steps that he takes from here that really shape him into who he becomes. Against all odds, he takes an unpaid internship to become a stockbroker, fighting against his peers for a single job at the end of it. This is a powerful true story that sticks with you as you face your own personal struggles in business.

Catch Me If You Can

The true story of a real fake.

Again, this is another true story, about a young conman who successfully impersonated an airline pilot, doctor, lawyer and history professor during his stint as fraudulent cheque casher. What’s amazing about this film and the life of Frank Abegnale Jr. is how much he managed to achieve in a much tougher environment and under more stress than most people are used to. Whether it’s legal or not, business is business and Frank was one of the best at what he did.


His whole life was a million-to-one shot.

This is a story of a man who went from nothing tom something, and something very big at that. It’s an inspirational film for the amount of perseverance Rocky puts into it, but that’s not what I love the most about this film. My favourite part is the story behind the making of the film and the life of Sylvester Stalone up until this point. He’d written the entire script in 24 hours straight, but had so little money that he had to sell his dog, his best friend, outside of a liquor store for $50, just to get by.

The real turn in the story is when, after months of trying to sell the movie, he gets an offer of over $100,000, but he can’t play Rocky. This is a big problem for Sylvester as he only ever dreamed of being an actor, so with barely enough money to eat, he declined the offer. Higher offers kept coming in, but he continued to turn them down, even to the sum of $400,000, purely because he wanted to play Rocky. Eventually, he was offerered just £25,000 if he wanted to play Rocky and he took it.

The first thing he did was go back to the liquor store to buy back his dog, but this ended up costing him $15,000 and a part in the movie for the man he’d sold him to. So after everything, Sylvester was made into a huge movie star, with Rocky winning an Oscar for best picture, all because he continued to follow his dream. This mentally is seen throughout the film and part of the reason it makes it a great film for any entrepreneur to watch.

Shawshank Redemption

Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.

This is one of the greatest films of all time, and one I’m sure that the majority of readers have seen before, purely because of its undeniable greatness. It’s the story of a man who manages to succeed in the worst possible conditions imaginable – false imprisonment for the murder of his cheating wife and lover. From making friends with another con inside the prison, Andy manages to make the best out of a very bad situation and through perseverance manages to achieve more than he ever thought possible.

The Social Network

You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies

This is another story of the young, successful and intelligent man, only this time, it’s based on a true story of the world’s youngest billionaire – Mark Zuckerberg, the creator and owner of Facebook. The story is pretty amazing and has been made famous by this film, he starts off as a Harvard student with a strong streak of arrogance and huge potential, he creates a new social network based upon the most prestigious email address in the country, the Harvard email address. The rest, as they say, is history.

Pirates of Silicon Valley

Good artists copy… Great artists steal.

There are no two bigger names in technology than Microsoft and Apple and this is their story. This is an amusing documentary style film about their competition and their rise to the enormous companies that they are today. It’s slightly dated today, and perhaps The Social Network is a little bit more relevant, but it still holds some very valuable information and pointers to learn from. After all, you’re gotta be a pretty special person to become as powerful as they have.

Forrest Gump

The story of a lifetime.

This is a simple man with good intentions, who accidentally becomes phenomenally successful from living his life the best way he knows how. He wins medals, becomes a professional ping-pong player, takes up running, owns a huge shrimping company and inspires people all across the country. The simple nature of Forrest makes him very appealing to world as he proves that you don’t have to be a super genius to make something work, you just have to try.


Based on a true story.

Another great film based on a true story, this time only slightly more illegal than the last, it’s a film based on George Jung and his career as a cocaine dealer. What started off as a small time operation working with pot, he is eventually imprisoned and introduced to cocaine and that’s where things start to explode. He’s rumored to have handled about 85% of all of the supply of cocaine in the 1970′s, making him an incredibly powerful and successful man, and this film is all about exactly how he did it.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Nice guys finish last. Meet the winners.

This is the story about two con men, big time and small time, and their struggle to compete together in a small French town which isn’t big enough for the both of them. So they decide to take part in a bet in which the loser leaves town and allows the other to carry on with their business. The only problem is that the bet is to see who can extract $50,o00 from a young female target – a pretty high stake. Of course hilarity ensues as you get to watch how the minds of con men work as they compete against each other to reach the goal first.

The Aviator

Some men dream the future. He built it.

A biopic depicting the early years of director and aviator Howard Hughes’ career from the late 1920′s to mid 40′s. It wasn’t the money he made or the time he spent that made him so great, it was the attention to detail and perfection that he strived for that set him apart from his competition. He faced many obstacles along the way from rival companies and malicious rumors, but nothing stopped him from becoming exactly who he wanted to be.

Risky Business

There’s a time for playing it safe and a time for Risky Business.

A good story about what you have to do when you take your dad’s Porsche out for a trip and start to realize that you’re going to need a lot of money, which you’re going to have to raise in a very creative way. With his parents away and responsibility out of the window, Joel starts to realize that it’s not all as easy as he was expecting, having to look after friends and source cash any way he can. An interesting look at what people can come up with when they’re put on the spot to come up with some fast cash.

The Corporation

This film takes a good, long look at what happens when you take a business and you model it to be legally a person – a corporation. What happens though when the sole purpose of this person is to make money for its shareholders though? It starts to act without a conscience which threatens the world, our future and the people working for it. This isn’t just a film about evil corporations though, it’s also about what we can do to stop them from taking over everything that we know. I saw this film in the cinema and it’s well worth seeing again, it’s completely eye opening.

There is much to be learned, yet the take away is that each one of these movies, does have some sort of Vision and Strategy, which can be defined as Strategic Planning.  This is what catapults the characters to their results.  You may not always agree, and they might not have either in the movie versions of art imitating life, yet they did do something common – plan, align, execute, change and obtain results!

So take the challenge for your business – what are you willing to learn and do from the movies and from the traditional aspects of Strategic Planning.  What are you willing to do to turn the planning into a process and not something understood and done by one, yet all – measure and manage against and to the same things!

What are you waiting for – take the challenge – we dare you to answer the questions above and to do something that gives you ongoing results!

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