PathMaker should be your Strategic Planning Software

Have you ever worked in an organization which had no known strategy? Or one which had a strategic plan, developed by the corporate planning staff, which languished in a handsome binder on the shelf until is was replaced by the next year's version? It's not pretty.

PathMaker can help. There are three critical elements of strategy:

  • purpose
  • alignment
  • deployment

PathMaker is designed to provide the infrastructure for systematic planning, review, and the movement of ideas through hierarchies. The tools for evaluating a purpose, or for reaching consensus, are built in. The project pathway provides a facility for reference, sharing, and documenting. There is also a pathway template for Strategic Planning, which is a fairly generic synthesis of the various steps recommended by different experts. You can use it as is, or modify it to suit your organization's purposes.

The Russian invasion of Afghanistan may have foundered because it had no clear, compelling purpose. The South Vietnamese regime which the Americans tried to prop up probably failed because its people were never aligned with the not-so-clear purposes of their leaders. And superior deployment was what won the Battle of Stalingrad for the Russians, and Arbela for Alexander the Great, and the operating systems war for Microsoft.

Knowing and sticking to a purpose, building alignment, and deploying resources is very tricky. The Japanese use Hoshin Kanri, also called Hoshin planning, which is an organization-wide management system for getting these things done. There isn't any special magic about it; it is simply a structured way of moving ideas up and down the organization, and tracking key indicators.

There is a huge strategic planning literature. There are many methodologies proposed, and there are critics of each. What one finds, though, is that there are common threads, most of which are common sense. There must be communication between organizational layers. Strategic, long-term issues are usually determined at or near the top of the organizational hierarchy. The lower one descends in the hierarchy, the more tactical the decisions become. There must be some factors, metrics, which can be used to represent the performance of different groups, or their progress towards goals. It's all well and good to say these things; it is rather more difficult to make them happen. Now, PathMaker can be used to help formulate strategic plans, and to help monitor progress.