A couple of weeks ago, I asked a question on LinkedIn:

What evidence do you use when creating strategic and staffing plans?

I am working with a group that manages the production of clinical practice guidelines. We are in the process of revising the strategic and staffing plans. I am interested in your recommendation for evidence of effective management practice that you use in creating your strategic and staffing plans.

I received some very useful responses:

1) Please review this link in a way that could suit your interests: http://capsnet.usc.edu/ProfessionalDevelopment/SupportTools/documents/StrategicStaffingPlans.pdf

2) Please consider downloading a copy of the The Edward Lowe Foundation article, “Are you prepared to succeed in Business” from the second vertical “Box Net” cube in the left margin of the below site. Here is a quote:

“Strategic objectives need to be:

MEASURABLE: Whether it’s sales growth, return on investment or something else, measures should be used that reflect the company’s goals. For example, Company X’s objective is to increase revenues in 1996 by 10 percent over 1995 revenues.

QUANTIFIABLE: The company should be able to quantify its progress according to the above measures on a regular basis. For example, Company X’s objective is to increase revenues in 1996 by obtaining five new Fortune 100 clients at a sale of $100,000 per client. Obtaining this goal will ensure a 10 percent revenue increase for 1996.

CONSISTENT: Objectives should not conflict. For instance, an early stage consumer products company probably cannot team sales growth with high profit margin as objectives because a large investment in equipment and advertising and costs of differentiation might preclude high profits as sales increase. Conflicting goals cause frustration and loss of focus.”

http://www.smalltofeds.com/

3) There is a nice classic article on a McKinsey Quarterly of 2003, which underlines the important links between staff (by looking at quantity and quality) and the type of work. http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Matching_people_and_jobs_1304

4) During the formation of a business strategic plan, I would recommend trying to answer 3 questions:

a) Where are we now?

  • Current situation analysis.
  • PEST analysis.
  • Industry analysis.
  • Company analysis

b) Where do we want to go?

  • SWOT analysis.
  • Strategic options

c) How to get there and when?

  • Action plans.

There were others that touched on similar themes and topics (also a few that I did not know what to do with).  I think that this is a very practical example of what it means to “crowdsource” or to go “naked” with your questions.

The reality of the web, especially on professional sites such as LinkedIn, is that there is a wealth of knowledge that can be tapped into for the purpose of addressing very specific questions.  This is not to say that one should rely only on these sources.  They do however, provide some clear directions to pursue.

I still have to do my research. I still have to do my own thinking.  I still have to write something that will refect the specific needs of the context that I am working in.  However, the individual intelligence that I bring to the subject is enhanced and extended by accessing this collective intelligence.

Examples of other experiences with collective intelligence are appreciated and welcome.

Peter Levesque, Director, KMbW