How to Create Focus and Accountability: A Strategic Planning Approach for 2020

Future of Leadership Podcast - John Wittry

In this episode of Sal Silvester on the Future of Leadership, Sal chats with John Wittry, a senior executive coach, master facilitator, and strategic planner. Season 2 of the podcast began with an episode on cultural alignment, and this episode continues that theme with a look at organizational alignment. John is passionate about creating a culture of accountability. He clarifies, however, that there is a difference between holding people accountable and teaching them to be so. When John holds people accountable, he has to nag them until they complete the agreed-upon task. However, when he teaches people to be accountable, he helps them establish an internal way of being that produces accountability. These people then keep themselves accountable, spreading the culture of accountability throughout the company. John also discusses the distinction between agreement and alignment; not everyone in the room has to agree for the team to be aligned. The key to helping a team become aligned is to make sure that everyone is heard. It is fundamental that a team aligns, but not fundamental that they agree. John then details the strategic planning process in three components: the strategic plan, the operating plan, and the accountability process. Most importantly, a strategy will only succeed with a functional team and an effective leader. John iterates that even the best plan, when executed by a dysfunctional team, will not succeed. It is with all of these principles that John and Sal continue to help companies develop a strategic plan for 2020 and beyond.

In this episode:
04:41 – The difficulty of keeping employees focused in an increasingly technology-driven world.
05:40 – The struggle of holding people accountable and how John does it.
06:28 – The importance of good leadership at all levels of an organization.
07:10 – The distinction between holding others accountable and teaching them to be accountable.
10:06 – The difference between agreement and alignment in a team setting.
13:49 – John’s commitment to making people feel heard.
15:10 – The role and importance of strategy in an organization.
16:53 – John defines an operating plan as the work that must be done for the strategy to move forward.
18:07 – The third component in the strategic planning process: the accountability process.
23:03 – How an accountability process keeps a company from pretending they know the future.
24:42 – The benefits of teaching strategic planning and leadership development simultaneously.
27:00 – The importance of a functional team and an effective leader in successful strategic implementation.


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