Stages of Transformation
Two pictures for you. The first describes a very common snapshot of transformative efforts. The second describes the way it should work.
You can think of this as your check-the-box approach to "transformative" (or strategic) planning: we make the plans, but we hem and haw around when it comes time to act. Perhaps because we're not really sure we made the right plan...
Why does Making Plans require less effort in this approach? Because when we really grasp Reality - who we are, our best opportunities, how the market works, the gaps we need to close - the plans become much more obvious.
In fact, the total amount of effort invested in the first two stages is often about the same between the Typical and Optimal scenarios. The difference is in Execution, where the Optimal approach gives us more confidence and context, so we actually take action.
But of course, that's the whole point. If we're not going to Execute, why make the plans?