One of the most frequent questions we are asked is “How do we avoid the common failures to strategic planning?”
The answer varies greatly based on where your organization is within the process, but here are some examples from a few of our clients seeing success in the planning and execution process:
- Not recognizing that strategic planning and execution is hard. Successful planning teams acknowledge the strategic planning and execution process isn’t easy. In fact, many admit it’s down-right challenging. But, all strategic organizations recognize the hard work in planning creates the path for the future and is the backbone to sustained growth.
Ricoh has nodded to the challenge of strategic planning and has learned to embrace the process to help their organization create the roadmap to the future.
- *CRITICAL* Not getting active engagement across leadership. Without complete buy-in and dedication to planning across your leadership team, strategic planning can be an uphill battle. Having your leadership team engaged and actively part of the process helps them understand the value in planning while providing everyone a clear vision for the future success of your organization.
Recology, a waste collection and recycling utility service, has actively engaged their team in the planning and execution process. The result is a leadership team who understands the value in planning and is helping set the priority across the organization.
- Not cascading responsibility. Cascading your corporate vision to create goals for your team is crucial to the success of your plan. Cascading goals aligns your team so everyone can clearly identify how they are contributing to the organization’s long-term success and have ownership in the process.
Superior Home Care’s plan has cascaded their long-term strategic objectives so everyone from their executive team to individual team members understands how their short- and long-term actions support the sustained, strategic growth of the organization.
- *CRITICAL* Not appointing a strategy leader. It is absolutely pivotal to have a champion for design, execution, communication, visibility, and reinforcement for how and why strategic planning and management is vital to organization growth. The strategy leader plays a pivotal role to keeping the plan front-and-center while evangelizing the criticalness of planning and execution.
Gunstock Mountain Resort has a strategy leader who is both dedicated to the management process and understands their role in the ongoing success of the strategic management process.
- *CRITICAL* Not reviewing your plan and performance. Putting a process and tool in place to manage the execution of your plan is one of the most important pieces of the strategic management process. Success in strategy only occurs when there is conviction and discipline to cadence to managing performance. True success in strategy occurs when strategic management becomes operationalized, not just an isolated event.
All four of these clients have successfully adopted and operationalized an ongoing strategic management process with a defined execution tool, consistent updates to their plan, and regularly scheduled strategy reviews to see how they’re performing against their plan.
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There are many reasons a strategic planning and execution process can fail. But, instead of focusing on what might derail your planning process, focus on the single action that matters most to making your plan a success – stay dedicated to the process.