3 Major Pitfalls of Planning

"Plan your work, and work your plan." 

Napoleon Hill

Every organization that I started working with had some kind of strategic plan which they had put countless hours of hard work into.  Some had plans beautifully bound...and gathering dust on a shelf, while others had complex plans that needed a separate plan to manage the plan.  Unfortunately, for most organizations, their plan wasn't worth the paper it was printed on, if it was lucky enough to ever even make it to a printer.  

 

It wasn't that the plans were poorly done, most adhered to a rigid planning methodology with every 'i' dotted and 't' crossed, but the plans brought little value to the organization.  In fact, more often than not, the act of planning was a drain on the organization's resources rather than an activity to inspire and chart the course for the future.  

The big question is...why?  They put in the effort and lots of smart people put in lots of time.   So why is this activity so often ultimately not successful?

  • The planning process is lacking critical information.  How do you know if you're missing critical information?

There is no shared vision for the organization.  Does it have a 'Why', as speaker and author Simon Sinek would ask?  If everyone in the organization can't easily articulate why the organization exists and what everyone is working so hard to do...there is no foundation to build on.

The competitive landscape is invisible or based on what your internal team or salespeople believe, rather than on what your customers and prospective customers are making decisions from.  If you don't know or can't face the reality of your current position in the marketplace...your plan will be built on wishful thinking

  • The planning process is an exercise to be endured and checked off as 'done'.  How can you tell if this is happening?

Did the plan your team created really inspire lasting change and add the expected value?

Did your team made decisions based off the plan or was it business as usual the day after the plan was finished?

 

  • The plan itself isn't based on data, but on feelings.  How can you tell if this is happening?

Is there sound data and analytics behind numbers or are they 'best guesses' without any basis in reality?

Is there believable 'line of sight' to near and medium term objectives or are they placeholders that will get sorted out at a later date?

These are only a few examples of things that can reduce or completely eliminate the effectiveness of your plan.  In many cases the organization would have been better off not having a plan at all - if only to reclaim the time and resources.  So if you're going to have a plan (and you should), make it a good one.  

If you want to build a plan that truly inspires organizational evolution, we are here to provide you with the support and practical actions, and most of all be a point of accountability, to help you put a process in place that works for your unique organization.  There is no 'one size fits all'.   Click on the link below and set up a free, no obligation consultation and let’s talk about the possibilities!