Amateur sailors dream about the destination, while old wily sea dogs know that the real art and craft of sailing lies in your learnt skill of getting through the storms that you will inevitable encounter along the way.
The destination is meaningless unless you can survive whatever the ocean throws at you.
The same can be said for steering an organisation into the future.
No business operates in a vacuum.
The environment in which an organisation tries to add value (much like the ocean) is volatile, unpredictable, extremely complex and impacted by countless moving forces most of which are completely out of that organisation's control.
'Strategic planning' that ignores or denies what's going on outside of the organisation is pretty much like a sailor setting sail for a dream destination assuming that the weather and everything else will play out exactly as envisioned.
That assumption is obviously laughable, but why then do so many organisational leaders create plans that are only realistic under conditions of zero disturbance or change?
Good strategy is about early spotting and exploiting the opportunities that are opening up on the horizon - steering the boat away from expected future dangers and into the gaps that give the best competitive advantage.
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” - Mike Tyson
Define your strategic approach
Choose to explore the plausible opportunities that are available to your organisation in the future, as well as design the cohesive plan to unlock them today.
Optimising the functionality of the boat isn't going to get it through the storms any better than sitting on the deck and praying for calmer weather. Better sails, cleaner decks, crew that have a 'sense of purpose' - are all meaningless when a massive wave hits the front of the vessel unexpectedly and sends everything flying.