You have some ideas useful in helping companies come up with interwoven short/long-term strategic plans. However, if you have read the speaker application page, you may recall that we are fighting a battle against some incorrect perceptions. They afflict both profit, and non-profit organizations alike.

But how can you come up with ideas that can make for an effective conference presentation or panel discussion?

Step 1 – Mind Map Some Obstacles

Start by brainstorming the reasons why leaders of organizations don’t have long-term strategic plans, even when they have a strong conviction that they are important.

Use everything you can find from your experience to fill in as many answers as you can find. Keep in mind the conference theme: “Transcend Short-Termism | Build Sustainable Value.”

Step 2 – Choose a Theme

As you survey your mind map, choose an obstacle or challenge to focus on. Some use prior data. Others use prior projects. Gut feel isn’t a bad indicator!

Step 3 – Craft a Topic and Sub-Topic

With the chosen obstacles in mind, pick a draft or working title for your presentation.

Use 10 words max in your Title, and 12 words max in your Subtitle (e.g. How to Save Time in Strategy Retreats | Using Shortcuts that Don’t Produce a Drop in Quality).

One sample construct: How to do X, Y and Z | Without Falling into A, B or C

You will enter the Title/Subtitle in the application form. 

Still stuck? Here are some possible areas for exploration. Don’t be limited by this list!

CategoryExecutive Challenges and Obstacles to Long-Term Strategy - A Sample
For-ProfitsPersonal short-term incentives - Many CEO compensation packages are heavily weighted towards short-term metrics like quarterly/annual profits, stock price, etc. This can create a misalignment of incentives where CEOs are subconsciously driven to prioritize short-term gains over long-term strategic moves that may not pay off immediately.
AllLack of imagination/vision - Some CEOs may struggle to truly envision and articulate their organization's potential future state 5-10 years out. It takes creativity and strategic foresight that doesn't come naturally to all executives.
AllAversion to career risk - Embarking on bold, long-term strategic shifts carries potential career risk for the CEO if those initiatives fail or underperform in the short run. There may be an unstated fear of jeopardizing their position and legacy by making big strategic bets that don't pan out quickly.
AllInertia and comfort with the status quo - Particularly in successful, established companies, there can be an innate bias toward staying the course with strategies that have worked in the past rather than disrupting the current model.
AllOverconfidence bias - Highly successful CEOs may fall victim to overconfidence - believing their company is inherently adaptable and can nimbly adjust to future conditions without much pre-planning required.
AllFear of making bold commitments - Laying out a detailed long-term strategic plan essentially commits the CEO and organization to specific future goals and directions. Some CEOs may be hesitant to "go on the record" with audacious targets that could later be criticized if underachieved.
For-ProfitsPolitics and power dynamics - In large, complex organizations, long-term strategic planning can be derailed by internal politics and power struggles between different business units, functions, or executive teams in positioning their priorities.
AllLack of trust in the process - If previous strategic planning efforts were flawed or produced suboptimal results, CEOs may be skeptical of investing too heavily in yet another planning cycle destined to be an academic exercise.
AllDifficulty letting go - Long-term CEOs who have had past successes may struggle to objectively reevaluate the core business and let go of strategies, products or mindsets that brought historical achievements but are no longer viable long-term.
AllShort executive tenures - With relatively short average tenures for many CEOs, some may prioritize short-term impact during their watch versus fundamentally reshaping the long-term direction which may not fully play out until after they've moved on. They may also be unwilling to let their successor take the credit.
AllOrganizational impatience - In our current culture of rapid disruption, some CEOs may feel internal or external pressure to forgo methodical long-term planning in favor of constant short-term pivoting and experimentation.
AllDecision Paralysis - With so many variables, uncertainties, and potential scenarios to consider in long-term planning, some CEOs may get paralyzed by the complexity and struggle to commit to a specific long-term direction.
AllEgo and Hubris - Highly successful CEOs with big egos may subconsciously resist long-term planning that could constrain their future ability to make intuitive, spur-of-the-moment decisions based on their brilliance and gut instincts
AllShort Attention Spans - In today's fast-paced, constantly disrupted business world, some CEOs may struggle to maintain the intense focus and patience required for a drawn-out strategic planning process.
AllLack of Imagination - Truly visionary and transformational long-term plans require CEOs to dream big and imagine future possibilities well beyond incremental improvements. Some struggle with this entrepreneurial mindset.
AllDistrust of Data/Analysis Overload - With the explosion of data, some CEOs may be overwhelmed by all the information that strategic planning processes attempt to synthesize, causing them to lose faith in their objectivity.
Non-Profit/NGOFunding Uncertainty - "We don't know what our budget allocations will be from year to year, so it's difficult to plan too far into the future."
Non-Profit/NGOPolitical Volatility - "With changing political leadership and priorities, any long-term plan we create could become irrelevant overnight."
Non-Profit/NGOBureaucracy and Red Tape - "The approval processes for new initiatives are so convoluted and slow that by the time we get buy-in, the strategic landscape has already shifted."
AllLack of Organizational Agility - "Our organization is large and hierarchical - it's nearly impossible to get all the stakeholders aligned for long-term strategic execution."
Non-Profit/NGOPublic/Donor Scrutiny - "We can't commit to bold long-term plans that may draw criticism from taxpayers, donors or watchdog groups if we adapt or fall short."
Non-Profit/NGOMission Drift Concerns - "If we pursue new long-term strategic initiatives, we risk mission drift from our core purpose and mandates."
AllShort-term Crisis Mindset - "We're constantly in put-out-the-fire mode dealing with emerging issues, leaving little bandwidth for long-range planning."
AllTalent and Skills Gaps - "We don't have enough strategic planning expertise and capabilities on staff to develop and implement a comprehensive long-term plan."
Non-Profit/NGOMisaligned Incentives - "Our leaders are often more incentivized by short-term wins and political optics than long-term institutional strategy.
Non-Profit/NGO"We rely heavily on volunteers and partnerships that come and go, undermining our ability to make enduring long-term resource commitments."

Step 4 – Complete the Application

Fill in the Topic/Sub-Topic of your presentation in the application here.

Finally, if you have done the above steps and are on the verge of something interesting, but can’t quite get over the line…send me a message from A chat with me or another expert may help.