Three Common Mistakes With Strategic Plans

Three common mistakes business leaders make with their strategic plans:

  1. Not converting the strategic direction into an operational plan. Think about an inverted funnel, you want to take a broad scan view of your environment, externally and internally and then narrow things down to actionable plans so you can measure your accomplishments. I recently met with a client about some of the challenges they’ve been facing in their organization. When I asked about their current strategic plan, she pointed to a rolled-up bunch of flip chart paper on a wire shelf that she put there 5 months ago. This is common and it can so easily happen when we get bombarded with the daily whirlwind of activities. We can help you convert your strategic plan into operational plans!
  2. Not referring back to the plan. This is like going swimming in dark waters without a tether rope tied from your waist to the boat. Now, I’ve never done that, but I’m imagining here. It’s not uncommon to see business leaders dig around for a copy of their most recent strategic plan when asked about the progress they’re making. Sometimes they haven’t looked at it in a couple of years! We can help you Stay the Course with your current strategic plan and increase the odds of fully executing on it.
  3. Playing it safe. Strategic plans can look a little mundane and similar if you’re playing it too safe. “True strategy is about placing bets and making hard choices. The objective is not to eliminate risk but to increase the odds of success” (Martin, 2014 – Harvard Business Review). Taking a good look at the external factors (Threats and Opportunities) that are influencing your business along with the internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) that will help you leverage them, can help you see the opportunities that weren’t obvious before!

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