There is no such thing as a perfect strategy, or a perfect strategic planning process. No matter what you do or how you do it, it can probably be improved. That said, a half-baked strategy can sometimes be worse than nothing. Every organization is occasionally tempted to cut back on research and planning when times are tough. But those are exactly the times when having realistic goals and a sensible plan is most important. The best business leaders always stay on top of what’s going on inside and outside their organization, and are always thinking ahead.
Common strategic planning mistakes include:
- Basing your strategy on invalid or incomplete market research
- Ignoring important stakeholders because you “don’t think they are relevant”
- Only considering a few fairly obvious strategic options
- Basing your strategy on outdated or faulty assumptions
- Setting goals that are non-specific in time and extent
- Underestimating the time, resources, and financial investment needed to execute the strategic plan
- Failing to align managers, staff and stakeholders through effective communication, management and monitoring.
- Under-funding the execution phase in order to meet short term sales, profit or revenue goals
- Failing to adjust the plan when market conditions or other factors change
To succeed at strategic planning you have to follow a process. Skipping steps almost always leads to sub-par results. You need to allow ample time for research, brainstorming, analysis and documentation.