When Strategic Planning is Broken
There are three common approaches to strategic planning.
All of them are a complete waste of time, money and effort.
Strategic Planning the Wrong Way – Option 1
Seriously. The biggest waste of money is no plan at all.
Strategic Planning the Wrong Way – Option 2
Today I’m reviewing a client’s proposed “strategic plan.”
Most of the time when I work with a client on this, their original plan looks a little like this:
The “plan” is to have each department come up with a list of
- What they did last year
- What they will do next year
Each functional team creates a mind-numbing detail-filled PowerPoint deck which they will be given an hour to present during the “planning meeting.”
This one feels better than no plan at all, but it’s still a waste.
People work really hard to try to communicate status and plan, and yet they end up leaving everyone’s brain spinning with all the minute details of everything that each department thinks they will do if the stars align.
This simply does not work.
Strategic Planning the Wrong Way – option 3
This one is a favorite, too. We all get together in a room and
- “Seek enlightenment”
- “Throw away the box”
- “Blue Sky”
- “Anything is Possible”
This provides an interesting thought exercise, but a lack of structure leads to a “new, innovative strategy” but no action is taken. It’s a waste.
Research shows that 90% of all strategic planning efforts are a complete waste of money!
Does your strategy matter?
If your strategy doesn’t matter – let’s say you’re a goldfish, and your strategy consists of swimming in circles, then don’t worry about doing strategic planning.
If you’re not a goldfish, you probably want to make plan.
But… If the 3 most common approaches fail, what DOES work?
A great strategic plan includes
- A high level view – what’s the VISION for what we will accomplish?
- A refinement of what you’re already doing – what do we need to change to get from here to there?
- What PRIORITY will these new activities have relative to the rest of your work? What might you need to STOP doing to fit this in?
- A set of ACTION STEPS to take – SMALL, MEASURABLE STEPS, not big ones – If you’re a couch potato today, you won’t be running a marathon tomorrow – what can you REASONABLY accomplish given the current project load?
- An owner for each activity – WHO will do the work?
- A due date for when the owner will make progress – When will it be done?
- A success measurement – How will you know it worked?
- A plan to revisit the plan – SPECIFICALLY when will you regroup to check action against plan?
A strong tie to action is the key to successful strategic planning.
This can be hard, but it is completely doable!
You know you need a good plan, and you’re ready to take action. Here are 2 possible approaches
Option 1: Do it yourself
Take this list above and create the agenda for your strategic planning meeting
I have a client who invested in a strategic planning session. It REALLY worked. They worked better as a team and achieved a lot of the ideas that they had been thinking about.
The next year they said “We know what to do now. Let’s take the plan from last year and revise it. We’ll save all that consulting money we paid to the coach!”
Guess what? They didn’t “get around to doing the plan” and the next year, they had not made any progress. They knew what to do, and didn’t have the discipline to do it on their own.
For their upcoming fiscal year they have allocated budget dollars to get some help.
Option 2: Let me help you
I can help you
- Plan for your planning summit,
- Facilitate the discussions,
- Keep you on track,
- Document your:
- Decisions made,
- Priorities set,
- Due dates and create your accountability plan
Companies that succeed do it through a disciplined process.
Give me a call at 240-668-4799.
I’d love to help you move forward with more of this:
and less of this:
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