Ten Reasons Why Strategic Planning Fails

Posted in Dynamic Training News, Strategic Planning on Jul 08,2012

Over the past several years the discipline of strategic planning has fallen out of favor because some organizations have experienced failure in their strategic plans. Analysis of why these organizations are not able to achieve successful results from their strategic planning efforts is rooted in a failure to properly execute the planning process or its necessary follow-up. While not exhaustive, the list of reasons why strategic planning fails in an organization provides insight into the steps your organization should consider, to assure that your strategic planning efforts are effective in helping to drive your organization.
  • 1. There is no actual plan created – the planning effort produces objectives, mission statements, goals, good discussion and ideas, but not actionable plans.
  • 2. There is no alignment among participants, so ‘business as usual silos,’ departmental agendas and the like occurred following the planning event, instead of aligning around a common set of agreed upon action plans.
  • 3. There is a missing level of specificity in the action plans themselves, which could lead to many interpretations and opinions of the actual work to be done.
  • 4. There is no leadership follow-up on action plans to hold assigned participants accountable for the execution of the plans.
  • 5. There is limited buy-in to the plans among those tasked with their execution.
  • 6. Not all the right participants were included in the process, causing missing or biased perspectives, leading to incomplete analysis and ineffective action plans.
  • 7. There is little or no pre-work prior to the planning event, leading to hasty decisions with incomplete data.
  • 8. There is no planning process agenda to move the planning activities to productive and timely conclusions.
  • 9. Senior leadership does not play the role of ‘regular participant’ in the process.
    a. Some members may be missing from the process, so their perspective is absent from the process (and it may be critical to have their perspective).
    b. Some members may have a chilling effect on ideation because they suppress open, honest dialog necessary to the process.
  • 10. No use of a facilitator to keep the meeting, discussions, and outcomes productive and on track. A participant cannot effectively facilitate, and a facilitator cannot effectively participate!


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