All leadership teams plan for the future. Any endeavor worthy of human effort deserves a plan. The Fortune 50 company, the meager start-up, the not-for-profit—all move forward on the basis of a strategic plan. Whether the planning involves the owner of a dry-cleaning operation sitting alone at the kitchen table or 30 senior leaders of a multinational company spending three days at a resort, decisions must be made about what will need to be done over a defined period of time. The process may be as simple as notes on a napkin or as complex as a thick binder containing a SWOT analysis, competitive data, and a multiyear growth plan.

There is no controversy over whether or not planning happens or even ...

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