By Erica Olsen Published on 01-22-15
Talking Points: Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

Now is the time of year where strategy should be at the forefront of your organization’s conversation. Without a clearly defined plan and set of goals, you’ll wander aimlessly throughout the next year with no clear roadmap for where you’re heading. It’s not too late to begin your organization’s strategic plan for 2015.

It all starts with the conversation, which can sometimes be challenging to have with a boss or board of directors. But it’s vital that these conversations happen. Here are some points to help you make your case:

  1. Strategy allows your organization the ability to better anticipate and prepare for change. You’ll lose valuable momentum and lead time being reactive rather than proactive. Customer expectations, regulatory requirements, competition, and economic changes are all variables that can rock the boat and send you to the bottom of the ocean if you don’t have strategies in place.
  2. The lack of a strategic plan can send employee morale down the drain. Besides the obvious paycheck, people need a reason to come to work every day. Without a planned, focused future, morale falls and employee interaction becomes vague and lifeless. A strategic plan sheds light on who is doing what, why they’re doing it, and how they individually contribute to the success of the organization.
  3. It drives organizational growth. Succeeding without a plan is possible, and there are plenty of examples of businesses who’ve seen financial success without one. If you’re one of them, consider yourself lucky, but ask yourself this question: Could you have grown and become even more successful if you were better organized? We’ve got money you’ll say yes.
  4. It sets a benchmark and helps you assess your performance. A strategic plan by nature requires you to measure and document performance. Doing so will allow you to benchmark where you’ve been, allowing you to adjust your trajectory of where you are going. Documenting data is a wise business decision to keep your organization moving forward.

Strategy is never linear and looks different with each organization. But, before you can even begin developing your plan, you’ve got to sell the idea of strategy.  Questioning the value of strategic planning is normal because it can be intense and costly, but the attitude that strategic planning doesn’t have value can prove to be detrimental to your corporate culture.

Strategy Check: Are you failing to plan or planning to fail?