Why Strategic Plans Fail

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Strategic planning meeting

By Jean Santos, Chief Disruptor & Rebuilder + Founding Partner, Business Consulting Resources


As I was trying to define why some companies fail with their strategic planning efforts, I found an article
published by Cascade, 7 Top Reasons Why Strategic Plans Fail. All of those reasons resonated with me.
I’ve summarized those reasons as offered by Cascade and added some of my own opinions on why well-intentioned strategic plans fail.

1. Failing to achieve 100% buy-in from your team.

Hard to do with large teams, but a bit easier with small ones. The plan owner needs to be sure they keep their perspective about the plan which makes it even more essential to have the entire team buy into it.

Work on your message and be sure the team members can feel the passion the plan owner has for the effort. This will significantly impact buy-in. And make sure each team member sees how they can advance the strategic objectives from the work they do and the projects they will take on to make the
strategic plan happen.

Why Strategic Plans Fail Click To Tweet

2. Unclear objectives.

Ideas are plentiful, but how to make them happen, not so much. When you write those objective statements and action plans be sure to use clear, precise language. Link those statements to the overall vision and use action words with measures of progress towards the goal included. Be sure each objective has a start and end time frame. Remember, each objective needs an owner, and monthly progress reports shared with the entire team are essential.

3. Taking your eye off the day-to-day operations.

Strategic work can be pretty compelling so be sure the team stays focused on the day-to-day operations that need to happen too.

4. Running out of steam.

To keep the energy level high, you need to work on the plan as a team at least once per month. Book these meetings, allow the team to block off time on their schedules to do strategy work, and honor these time commitments, with no cancellations.

5. Be willing to fail and try again.

Not all of the activities connected with your plan will be a home run. Be willing to fail fast and try again. Reward failure too as this practice will encourage even more innovation.

6. Lack of alignment.

If your entire team is aligned on the vision and objectives of all of this work, they will be able to tell you how their individual parts of the work will contribute to achieving the strategic objective. Challenge the team and be sure to ask them why and what they are doing in addition to asking how they are going to do it.

7. Failing to celebrate success.

Celebrate all the wins, even the small ones. Keep the celebration simple, food always works, and shutting down early on a Friday afternoon is a big hit too!

Celebrate all the wins, even the small ones. Click To Tweet

Business Consulting Resources has been working with clients for over 40 years to help them develop and implement strategic plans that are successful and avoid all of these pitfalls. Let us know if we can help you build and implement a plan that will get you to your goals!

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