“In theory, the difference between theory and practice is nothing, in practice, it’s everything.” 

Growth. Strategy. Change. Outcomes. Three-year plan. Five year plan.

 These words are meant to inspire us, motivate us and challenge us to tackle a problem and solve it.  It is good to have a plan and to establish strategies to get there – absolutely!

But lately, I’ve been asking myself have we progressed so far in this way of thinking that we have forgotten that with out ‘buy in’ or at least acceptance; we face an up hill battle? I’m talking about the buy in or acceptance where you can see a light go on in the eyes of those you are leading, not the “we the experts have spent a year building a plan, so here you go people, implement it.”

The first type inspires loyalty, passion and people who become internally motivated – all eyes looking forward toward the same goal. It’s a lot of work to sell a vision, to ignite passion and invite collaboration. (but often builds lasting results). The second type is more directive and externally motivated (do this, this way) and ensures everyone is busy with activity, often without truly understanding why or how their activity relates to the bigger picture. Yes, this method often produces quick results and looks very impressive on paper, but at what cost? And how will the desired outcomes survive into the future? How many of the original team will still be there to make sure they do, or even remember what the plan was?

Yes, it’s good to have a plan – absolutely! But let us remember our greatest resource – the people who make it happen. Aren’t they worth the extra investment in time?

Below are two books that have resonated with me:

Selling the Dream, Guy Kawasaki  http://www.guykawasaki.com/selling-the-dream/

Community, The Structure of Belonging, Peter Block http://www.scottlondon.com/reviews/block.html

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