Why You Should Never Call Your Programs, a Strategy

When I ask an organization about their strategy, more often than not they will start telling me about all the programs they have in place. 

Unfortunately, they have confused strategy and programs. 

Programs are tactics and day-to-day operations. They are focused efforts to move the organization towards its future vision. 

Strategy is how you achieve synergy between all those individual programs. 

Instead, strategy and strategic planning require the following three things:

   1. ENDS – purpose, vision, mission, values

   2. WAYS – action plans, policies, strategic leaders initiative

   3. MEANS – prioritize people, money, and time.  

In today’s video, I share how to easily evaluate your programs strategically, by asking yourself one simple question. 

Use your strategy and strategic planning to evaluate programs– old and new. When someone suggests a new program or you’re evaluating how well a program is doing, use your strategic plan as a yardstick to evaluate it. Ask yourself-

Does this program move us in the direction we want to go, consistent with our mission, vision, and values?

This question should lead you to one of three answers…

1. Yes, this program falls in line with our strategic plan. Let’s implement it!

2. No, this program doesn’t not align with our strategic plan but it has good parts. Let’s tweak it so it does align with our mission, vision, and values.

3. No, this program is not consistent with our strategy and we don’t want to invest time and resources into something that does not keep us moving in the direction of our mission, vision, and values. 

Reviewing your programs with these answers in mind ensures that you are staying on the right path rather than becoming distracted by bright, shiny objects that will inevitably use up unnecessary time and resources for the wrong goals. 

In short, programs solve immediate problems but the effective strategic leader insures that they are integrated and focused towards the long-term strategy and vision of the organization.