Strategic Planning Problems
Strategic plans often don’t get off the shelf and do nothing but create dust. Or they quickly become irrelevant. There are many reasons that a plan could fail, but the most common are:
1. A non-representative strategic planning group. Many companies have only the executives involved in planning, which can often exclude perspectives from the most knowledgeable people. Consider appointing a group that represents a cross section of the company along with some members of the Board.
2. Out of sync with trends. If planners don’t look at what’s happening around them and where things seem to be moving, the company will likely not be ready to have a fact based discussion that leads to a well thought out strategic plan.
3. Too many goals. Some plans are overwhelming! There can be no way all of the goals and objectives can be met in a three year cycle and most people eyes will cross just looking at a multi-page plan that is too ambitious. This can be so daunting that the plan simply gets shelved.
4. No assignments. No accountability. This is a huge problem. If objectives aren’t assigned to the appropriate groups or individuals, no one is responsible and no one follows up. An annual action plan related to the plan’s objectives should be developed – to include what, who, when, and how much, if there’s a related budget.
5. Lack of resources. Plans look great and include strategies for the future, but will need considerable financial and human resources, both of which the company may not have adequately planned for. This will most likely mean those goals won’t be achieved.
6. No alignment with the budget. Most companies have good plans in place to move their organizations forward but have failed to see the importance of having their budgets tied to the plan – in fact, sometimes it’s the other way around. Your plan should be the leader in determining what to budget and where each item falls on the priority pecking list. If your plan is not prioritized or its objectives haven’t been assigned, this should be your first step. Then, develop budgets for anything that is planned to happen in the next budget year.
7. No measurements. If those groups assigned objectives don’t develop measurements that will clearly show goals are met, it’s hard to determine if they were indeed met.
8. No follow up. Even with assignments and measurements, if the Board of Directors isn’t on top of the plan’s progress, it could easily fade away into “who cares land?” The Board should be tracking the progress of the plan continuously
Strategic Planning Templates
The collection of strategic planning templates can also be accessed below: