5 Ways You’ve Wasted Time with Strategic Planning

While strategic planning should certainly be part of your arsenal of tactics, there are at least 5 things you can avoid to get the most out of it.

5 Ways You’ve Wasted Time with Strategic Planning

I had a conversation with a gentleman a few years ago…two conversations, actually, about 3 years apart.  He was telling me that he had taken his company about as far as he knew how to go with it, and that he needed guidance in order to determine what the next steps for his company should be.  We talked about his company at great length.  During the conversation, I learned that he has 5 strategic plans that are in binders sitting on a shelf in his office.  It was great work done by great consultants, but because they are on his bookshelf, they are of no value to him.

I wish I could say that was the exception to the rule, but I’ve seen this happen again and again.  In my own work, I recall building a plan for one of our clients, and his question was, “you are going to help us implement this, right?”  I confirmed with him that I would, of course.  While it can be a learning process for some, the investment in your company’s strategic planning must result in tangible ROI for the company.

Obviously, having a company come in and build a strategic plan, or building your own strategic plan and doing nothing with, it is a rather obvious waste of time. As a busy leader, you can’t afford to waste your time.  For instance, below are five ways you (or someone you  know) may have wasted time with strategic planning:

  1. Not doing the background work. While it is great to establish goals for your company and build an amazing plan to get there, if you aren’t aware of what is going on in your company’s environment, this could be an exercise in futility.  In other words, you could be building a solution that no one wants or needs, or banking on technology that could soon become obsolete which will have wasted your time.
  2. Too many objectives.  My belief is that it is great to be ambitious and work hard, but creating too many objectives can prove to be overwhelming and sets the company up for failure. Therefore, you will have wasted your time building the plan – especially if the objectives are complex or obscure.  Typically, I will strive for 3 primary objectives that I want to implement at a time, and as I complete one, I’ll add another to take its place.
  3. Failing to plan.  If you don’t have a plan – a timeframe, budget, resources, priorities – you are not likely to successfully implement your plan.  In other words, your plan will fail.  You will have wasted your time.  As a matter of fact, most strategies never get implemented in part because there is no actual plan to put them in place.  If your plan is never implemented, you’ve wasted your time.
  4. Not considering the people factor.  Many times, when implementing a strategic plan, there is a “people” component to it.  People don’t change as uniformly or as quickly as software implementations.  People typically have a habitual way of doing things, and to ask them to apply a different approach to their work may prove to be challenging or, in some cases, fruitless.  The process of teaching your team a new way of doing things is called Change Management.  A strategic plan without considering the people factor is a waste of time.
  5. Small goals.  If your goals are small, you are probably wasting your time. The goals you establish for your company should result in gaining some advantage for your company.  If your goal is adding to your headcount, this should be part of a larger goal that looks like increasing revenue 25%, which should be part of a larger goal to increase market share and reduce competition, for example. So, as you are planning, consider why you want to pursue certain goals and ensure you have the root cause.

Other obstacles such as lack of recourses, not “minding the store,” not adjusting the plan as market forces change, not have regular check-ins and accountability for implementation, etc., will all result in failure to implement your company’s strategic plan.   Those obstacles and more are generally related to the 5 items listed above.

Always keep in mind that your strategic plan must create value for your company and must give it marketplace advantage.  If you consider a strategy game like chess or checkers, the goal is to win.  Strategic planning in business is the same.  The goal is to gain a strategic advantage so that your company can win.

Aepiphanni is a Business Consultancy that provides Advisory, Management Consulting and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. We are the trusted advisor to those seeking forward-thinking operational and strategic solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Learn more about us at https://aepiphanni.com or register for a complimentary discovery session at http://coffeeandaconsult.com.




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