The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on September 13, 1999 · Page 59
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September 13, 1999

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 59

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Monday, September 13, 1999
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Page 59
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"6 THE PALM BEACH POST SEPTEMBER 13, 1999 OCCUPATlOJjAL'HAZARDS Taking strategic success for granted is a bad plan had, lost its uniqueness. Former SLF member David Goldenberg recalled an old adage as commentary on the organization's decline: "Better grandeur with trivial flaws than impeccable mediocrity." At the same time that SLF's positioning was becoming vague, an organization with a much narrower focus was thriving: the Society for Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP). The president of one now-defunct SLF chapter recalls asking the national board to consider what SCIP was doing right The response was, "What's SCIP?" I guess that's what you would call "noncompetitive intelligence." We can learn from the SLF experience how easy it is for strategic planning to turn into wishful thinking. What's sad is that as the organization faltered, it had among its ranks the role model for success. Turns out that nearly one-fourth of all the members of the SLF belonged to a single local chapter, the one in Toronto, which has about 500 members ou wouldn't recognize a cunning plan if it painted itself purple and danced na ked on top of a harpsichord singing, "Cunning plans are here again. " From Edmund Blackadder's autobiography, circa 1600 What do you call 2,000 strategic planners getting together? Call it a bad plan; call it a lousy strategy; and, if they owe you money, you might also call their loan. How's this for irony? The organization of strategic planners, the Strategic Leadership Forum, is falling apart, perhaps going out of business. Local chapters have been disbanding or going independent ever since the national office was unable to remit to the chapters their share of the annual dues. One report I saw was so bleak that it reminded me of the two college kids in the beer commercial who are down to choosing between the six-pack and the toilet paper. What went wrong? The members I've talked to are, of course, Y and which has recently withdrawn from the SLF to press on as an independent group. What went right in Toronto? I spoke with Ross Stockwell, an organizational psychologist and president of the Toronto group. And the secret of their success is "not to take success for granted." They have used their popularity to draw ever better speakers, the sort who pull in large crowds. They keep that circle going by refusing to put on even one mediocre program. They plan each event a year or more in advance, with the goal of finding topics and speakers "just as they are about to become famous." Then they avoid the classic mistake, that of wallowing around in committees, the home of impeccable mediocrity. A program doesn't go forward unless it has a "champion," an individual who is personally committed to making that particular event a ringing success. It's not enough to have a good idea for an event: "If there isn't someone willing to be the champion, it dies. And the result is that we are saved from half-hearted efforts." Stockwell also added, "With a volunteer organization, you can't push people, you have to pull them. You can challenge the interest of those in the organization, but you can't manufacture it." How, I wondered, do you put on programs that challenge interests, that pull people along? You offer "bread and circuses you give them substance, and try to overdeliver on execution." Bread and circuses. Give the crowd what they need and what they want. Now that's a strategy and a plan. Dale Dauten is an entrepreneur, speaker and author. His new book, on how great bosses and great employees find each other, is The Gifted Boss (William Morrow). You can write to him in care of King Features Syndicate, 235 45th St., New York, NY 10017, or at www.dauten.com for e-mail. Wise Ways To Invest Dale Dairten blaming a lack of strategy.-That reminded me of Erma Bombeck's famous injunction, "Never go to a doctor whose office plants are dead." From what I learned, I pieced together this case study on strategy . . . The SLF's underlying problem was that corporate strategic planning departments have been shrinking, meaning that their target audience was in decline, a classic strategic planning issue. Their response was as typical as it was wrong: to expand the base, reaching out to other executives, not just planners. But, as so often happens, this meant a dilution of the product. Instead of receiving a new niche, or a second niche, the organization lost the one it 1 3 9 3 Audi Front Wheel Drive, Moonrool. Memory Seats, leather. Keyless Entry, 16" Alloy Wheels T i 1 u ell I V Three 8-Month CD itiilimuuii.il ii ' , 5.50 Annual Percentage Yield 17-Month CD i.i.-Ai. ik ja 5.75 Annual Percentage Yield At 30-Month CD V 6.00 to r Annual Percentage Yield -, Ilfs Pmjft "z? Porsche It's Time To Make The Switch Call 203-9900 www.fidfed.com FIDELITY FEDERAL is FDIC Insured Minimum deposit $1,000. APY effective 9'99 and subject to without notice. Substantial penalty for early withdrawal. change

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