In a recent blog I addressed a few things about strategic planning and “starting with the end in mind.” I had promised a few other follow up ideas, so here we go.

In honor of the political season, putting all politics aside, I want to talk about the power of the vote. There will be many “get out and vote” campaigns over the upcoming months. We all know it is our civic duty to take part in this process. It is, after all, one of the many things that sets our great country apart from the others. People get to choose.

I know it is difficult to leave politics out of this discussion. We may not like the pool from which we get to choose, but we still get to choose. I want to be careful to not mix the metaphor here. I am not saying people get to pick their leaders or that business is a democracy. What I am saying is people want to know their voice is being heard. People want their vote to count. Even if their vote is for a losing candidate, people want to know their input mattered.

Now, back to strategic planning. “Starting with the end in mind” means getting input across the board and reaching deeper and deeper into the organization. You can do this in several ways.

Employee surveys are one way of gaining information across the organization. We can conduct employee vision groups to gather input from various groups within companies. You can have some one-on-one interviews and even reach out to outside stakeholders to take part.

The point is: Do not lock your management team in a room and assume they have all of the inputs and answers. Whatever your leadership team decides on as a strategy, you will need across the board buy-in for seamless execution.

This is where gaining input upfront helps a plan’s execution. Once people know they have had input and that their ideas have been heard, they are more willing to buy-in and work to execute the plan. In many ways it becomes their plan and not yours, which is ultimately what you want. This should be your goal as a business leader.

In the article, “Strategy or Execution…Which Matters Most?” Andrew Houston writes: “An average strategy that is well executed will beat a great strategy poorly executed; every time.”