By Erica Olsen Published on 09-25-06
Talking Points: Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

Need talking points to convince your boss or board of directors to do a strategic plan? Here are some points to help you make your case:

If organizations fail to anticipate or prepare for fundamental changes, they may lose valuable lead time and momentum to combat them. These fundamental elements of business are customer expectations, employee morale, regulatory requirements, competitive pressures, and economic changes, and they’re always in flux. Many times businesses achieve a level of success and then stall. The strategic planning process helps you to avoid the stall and get off the plateau you find yourself on. Accidental success is dangerous.

Succeeding without a plan is possible, and plenty of examples exist of businesses that have achieved financial success without a plan. If you’re one of them, consider yourself lucky, but ask yourself this questions: Could you have grown and become even more successful if you were better organized? I’m willing to bet your answer is yes.

Another danger is that the lack of a strategic plan negatively impacts the attitude of an organization’s team. Employees who see aimlessness within an organization have no sense of a greater purpose. People need a reason to come to work everyday (besides the a paycheck). Lack of direction results in morale problems because, as far as your employees are concerned, the future is uncertain, unpredictable, and out of control. These depressing conclusions can only be seen as a threat to employment, which negatively impacts productivity.

To avoid these dangers, you need to get rid of the naysayers (including possibly yourself). Questioning the value of strategic planning is normal because planning can be intense and costly, but if the attitude that planning isn’t necessary becomes part of your corporate culture, it can prove deadly.