Strategic Planning in 2021: “Let the Wild Rumpus Start!”


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Just like Max in the beloved children’s book Where the Wild Things Are, we have all just “sailed off through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the wild things are.” 

As the forces of a global pandemic, and intensifying social justice movement, new political fault lines, and a growing climate crisis have converged, we have indeed seen the wild things “roar their terrible roars and gnash their terrible teeth and roll their terrible eyes and show their terrible claws.” We’ve watched the wild things impact businesses, supply chains, consumers, workforces, and communities. 

There’s no denying that this is a wild time.

What Do We Do in Wild Times?

In the face of these wild and terrible things, there’s really only one thing to do: BE LIKE MAX, obviously, and become the most wild thing of all.

“Max said ‘BE STILL!’ 

and tamed them with the magic trick

of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once

and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all

and made him king of all wild things.

‘And now,’ cried Max, ‘let the wild rumpus start!’”

What is the Wild Rumpus?

We can’t speak for Max, but when we talk about the Wild Rumpus in business, we mean UNwiring decades of “how things are done” in business and leadership. We mean redefining our strategic planning templates, designing for exponential—not incremental—growth, and asking provocative questions about the future of our business, team, or product. We mean using visual, collaborative tools to engage our teams. We mean designing for exponential impact – not incremental growth – to create stories of emergence, resiliency, agility, and informed action. This creates an exponential culture that is adaptable while embracing accountability and enabling exponential changes in the way you do business. 

Turn Your Strategic Planning into a Wild Rumpus

When you turn your next Strategic Planning Session into a Wild Rumpus, your strategy goes beyond targets on a spreadsheet and becomes a vehicle for the people of your organization and the change they’re out to make in the world.

A Wild Rumpus strategy is not a list of incremental tactics aimed at mitigating the risks of the next year or two. Rather, it tells the story of your future-ready business in a way that allows your teams and your customers to find themselves in that story and see how much they matter. Wild Rumpus strategies serve people, values, and vision.

5 Ways to Bring the Wild Rumpus to Your Strategic Planning Session

1.  Start early.

Don’t let your Strategic Planning meeting happen over the usual 3-5 days. Turn it into a story that unfolds over the course of 3-5 months, growing richer and more compelling over time.

2.  Bring the BIG PICTURE to hybrid spaces.

This unraveling, emerging, fuzzy picture of your organization’s future needs a BIG PICTURE everyone can see. Strategic planning often includes big whiteboards and markers and sticky notes and graphic facilitator to facilitate that picture. But now it’s the Wild Rumpus and we must design for a mash-up of physical and digital spaces. Think about ways you can bring physical assets into your remote participants’ workspaces (customer avatar cutouts, signs, and stickers, etc.), and consider using Miro or MURAL to build a living whiteboard in the digital space that everyone can access again and again.

3.  Get in the time-travel phone booth and go to the future.

Imagine your future workforce (they’re TWELVE right now, by the way) and get clear about who you’re designing your future-ready business for. Who are these 12-year-olds likely to become? Consider how parents are parenting right now, what’s being normalized right now, and what adults who completed a significant portion of their school career on an iPad or laptop will be like and what they’ll value.

4.  Bring your customers to life.

Use avatar cut-outs and empathy exercises to really get to know your customers—now, in 5 years, and in 10 years. What do they want? What do they care about? Your exponential growth depends on your ability to design products and services that truly serve your customers.

5.  Turn your strategy into a story.

We are storytelling beings by nature and we all want to see where we fit in a plan and the journey we are embarking on. The stories we tell about ourselves and our organization’s influence and shape the futures we have available to us. A strategy without a story simply cannot have the same impact, because it leaves out the people who must fulfill that strategy. Our friends at Conversant are masters at turning their clients’ strategies into stories, with chapters that range from who you are and what you value to company culture and how you’ll respond to change.

Let the Wild Rumpus Begin

It’s time to seize this wild moment to transform ambiguity and confusion into opportunity. With massive changes happening in every marketplace, the stakes have never been higher for you to stare straight into the eyes of the wild things and, like Max, become the wildest thing of all. 

Don’t let your strategic planning session deliver the business of today! Let our Visual Futurists lead you to deliver exponential results for your business of tomorrow! GET STARTED!


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