Simplicity: Strategic Planning for Business and Life
by Brian J. Rhiness
Trafford Publishing

"Strategic planning is about the conversation, not a fill in the blanks template."

Ever worked for a company where the strategic initiatives seemed like the next "flavor of the day," and if you resisted long enough it'd go away? Were you in a leadership position where goals were well thought out but never implemented? Good intentions pave the road to hell, as the saying goes, and if success cannot be envisioned, particularly in measurable goals and regular feedback, then a company is bound to fail. This is the foundation of Rhiness' book on strategic planning using what he call his Strategic Thinking Simplicity model.

The premise behind the Simplicity model is intuitive. It requires the stakeholders of a company to start with the end in mind. Where do they see their company in five years? What does success look like for them? Rhiness calls this the future state. In order to reach success, a path needs to be created through measurable goals. Goals cannot be determined, however, until the company is honest with itself in terms of its current state of affairs. An action bridge (consisting of goals) needs to be constructed then in order to eliminate the gap between the current state and the future state. This is the model for strategic planning. The author then delves into the critical aspects of a successful implementation, including but not limited to embracing the skeptics of the plan because they will help strengthen and refine it.

Overall, Rhiness' approach to successful strategic planning and implementation is valuable to those starting a company or desiring to improve. It is well-laid out in this book, written in a straightforward, no-nonsense, language that is easily digestible for the reader. The book conveniently doubles as a workbook. There is a checklist at the end of each chapter to help point out key points and application questions.

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