There certainly are more than three mistakes you can make in your strategic planning process, but here are the ones we see most often:
Ambiguous goals and roles. This is counter intuitive, right? We all know that the real enemy is AMBIGUITY and that the main point of strategic planning is to remove it. However, many leaders don’t go far enough in defining where their businesses are headed or who is responsible for what in getting there.
For example, “The sales team will increase sales by 20% this year.” Well, teamwork is the best thing ever for goal achievement, but only individuals can be held accountable. Otherwise you can experience the “I’ve got it–I thought you had it” syndrome, especially if things go awry. Who is the accountable person to achieve this goal?
Insufficient focus. All too often leaders try to be “all things to all people” or try to do “too much with too little.” You’re much more likely to be successful doing a few things well rather than a lot of things not-so-well.
For example, what if Ferrari began a campaign to offer some of the highest performing sports cars in the world at the same price point as a Toyota Camry? Can’t you see the advertising campaign now, “Ferrari, the cheap high performance sports car.” Have you picked a few goals that you truly can execute, or are you making “glacial progress on a thousand different fronts?”
All talk and no action. It’s common that “when all is said and done, more is said than done.” Even if you have a great strategic plan, it doesn’t do you much good if you continue to let the “urgent” crowd out the “important.” Are you measuring, monitoring, and adjusting your strategic and execution plans regularly?
Do you have a handsome three-ring binder on the top shelf of the bookcase in your office containing an incredibly detailed and elaborate strategic plan that you haven’t looked at since it was completed months or years ago? Keep you plan simple, understandable, and executable, and update it every few months through your ongoing measuring and monitoring process.
- Make your goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound), and be sure everyone knows what individual is accountable for what results.
- Focus your plan to a few goals that you can execute very well as opposed to a myriad of goals that you will execute poorly.
- Keep your plan simple, understandable, and executable, and update it every few months through your ongoing measuring and monitoring process.