When you surf the web, you can find a few statistics revealing the percentage of failed strategies in organizations. In 2019 these numbers vary from as little as 70% to more than 85%. Although exact figures are unknown to us, the problem is obvious.
This is not surprising as developing a strategic plan is indeed a challenging process. It requires making hard decisions, trade-offs, understanding of both details and the big picture. And many companies, regardless of industry and number of staff, tend to fall into some common traps over and over again.
With this in mind, here are 5 most widespread mistakes to be aware of to improve the strategic planning process. Check the list out and consider it next time when implementing a new strategy for your business:
Strategy development in opaque language
When you deliver your strategy to the colleagues, it’s critical that it’s transparent throughout the whole process for everyone both inside and outside the company, not exclusively for the highest up. Keeping the strategic planning process clear to all the participants ensures each of them understands how their efforts make an impact and what is required from them to successfully execute the strategy.
It used to be quite challenging, but we’re lucky to live in the 21st century. Nowadays we have tons of handy tools that can help any business to determine where it’s going in the coming years and beyond and how to get there.
Among the great number of such solutions, each of them comes with own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take for example Roadmap Planner, a strategic communication app to set a clear vision of your product development. The app has a useful feature called Presentation Mode which allows you to present your roadmap to the team and stakeholders in a visually appealing form. With one click of a button, your document will be expanded to the dimensions of a projector screen so that everyone can clearly see the details.
Thus, by means of great visibility, you’ll be able to establish coherent and effective communication across all of the departments. Each team member will know their role in the process and stay focused on thriving towards the same aims.
Skipping the data collection stage
Today when more data is available than ever before, a lot of businesses ignore this valuable trove of information and miss the opportunity to profit on it. However, the strategy based solely on your intuition and assumptions is bound to fail.
Before the start of strategy development, you should spend time gathering as much information as possible on the current financial and market situation. As well as examine your customers and competitors.
The world is changing too fast, so don’t waste your time exploring forecasts for 2035. Instead, pay particular attention to the trends that are published on the web at the beginning of each year and consider large scale events which may change the social, economic or political context. And certainly, conduct surveys on a regular basis to find out what needs to be scheduled for the next release.
Trying to plan to the last detail
In doing so, your strategy will be filled with technicalities that might confuse your staff and muddle your overall vision. And furthermore, in the world full of uncertainties it’s worth considering that weekly details are very important at the beginning of a project. But they will be a waste of time later on.
Break your projects into small actionable steps that will provide everyone involved with a clear understanding of the deadlines. In this way, it will be much easier for them to complete their work on time and advance to the next steps as scheduled. For this purpose strategic planning software usually offers Milestones feature. With its help, you can more accurately estimate the time that will take you to achieve intermediate objectives and measure how far you’ve moved towards desired results.
Focusing on a small circle of people
No doubt, the close-knit group of your colleagues is crucial to carrying out plans. But ignoring a broader range of staff may cause growth ideas and fresh thinking to pass by you.
Involving employees from all levels (like department heads, influential stakeholders, people from outside the company with their expertise, external partners, and, of course, your customers) will let you better assess whether suggested goals are achievable and analyze your current state. It is they who will point out weaknesses in your existing strategy, lack of resources, or other obstacles towards intended results.
Take constructive suggestions and explain why the others were rejected. In this way, you’ll not only get a more rounded plan but you’ll provide the possibility of participation for all early on, making it easier to implement your plan further down the line.
Designing a strategy which is impossible to turn in practice
This is one of the key reasons why many strategic plans won’t help assess and adjust the company’s direction towards desired results but stay in the far corner.
Prior to designing a strategic plan make sure you can actually deliver it. This implies you should clearly identify who’s doing what and by when, know all the strengths and weaknesses of your team, and find out the ways to plug the gaps in skills. It also involves understanding whether you’ll be able to reveal these gaps and fill in the blank with the current team members. Or perhaps you’ll need to hire new talents.
The list goes on… But being aware of these common mistakes, which affect companies most frequently, and heeding all this advice will help you to create a truly supported and actionable strategy that is fundamental for business success.