They have to understand the plan before they can achieve it

Too many plans are simply dense and complex documents that are hard to understand and put into action.

Here's what we faced when we went to work for a large public utility.


We were engaged to fix a plan that likely cost more than a quarter-million dollars – prepared by a top national consulting firm. It was 125 pages of single-spaced complexity (although underneath a good plan).


The original document was a complicated, single-spaced monster. It was very difficult to even read – much less understand it and put it into action.

In fact – only a few leaders fully grasped the meaning and value of the plan until we summarized and literally transformed the document into a striking visual format of 16 pages. Then, with good implementation and execution from Management, understanding and action both took off.


What we did was to rewrite, but not change, and then desktop publish the original plan to make it clear and understandable.

These handsomely-designed and easy to read pages became the working document for those responsible for implementing the strategic plan.


Last we created a 12 page, carefully-designed summary document that was intended for managers and employees. In fact, it was so well received that hundreds more copies were produced and used in a variety of ways – including recruiting, political sessions, regulatory and oversight meetings, and on and on.


For the first time in many years, people at every level of the organization understood where the organization was headed, saw that it was achievable, and understood at least the basics of the challenges and what needed to be done. All are vital to any plan's success – and that proved to be the case here.

A couple of years later much of it was accomplished.

RECOMMENDATION    Whether your plans are simple or complex, create a clear, visually-based front-end that captures the essential parts of the plan and makes it simple to understand for people at all levels. 

Make sure your team gets the big picture and the basics first. Keep it easy to understand at the beginning and and let your employees and other stakeholders get to the complexities and details later.

Carl Francis