Looking for ways to jump start profitable growth?
Over 88 percent of this country’s large organizations are now engaged in some form of strategic planning…and this number continues to expand, reaching across all industry sectors and involves companies of all sizes.
Yet, as business leaders gather to strategically plan their futures, they continue to make fundamental…even fatal mistakes. Here are the top four:
- Skipping Rigorous Analysis
Many believe business experience and knowledge, alone, equips them with all the information they need to plan profitable growth. Not true! A more viable approach includes research into how its industry is evolving, identifying emerging trends and opportunities as well as barriers to growth to be found in the current competitive landscape.
- Believing Strategy Can Be Built in a Day
Many executives honestly believe effective strategies can be crafted, explored and agreed in the space of a single off-site meeting where the most anticipated events are meals and afternoon golf. While these meetings are excellent forums for addressing key issues and coming up with recommendations for solutions, strategy creation requires time (over weeks) for adequate discussion, problem solving, exploring various courses of action, validation and resolution.
- Failing to Link Strategic Planning with Strategy Execution
Where strategic planning requires only the top team, execution of these plans involves the entire organization. The degree of disconnect between planning and execution in most organizations is astounding. The lack of communication, structure and management processes to build accountability, measure and monitor progress is frequently not there. Instead, build a dashboard to recognize achievements, note missed milestones, surface major issues and apply corrective actions. Also, reviewing performance on a bi-weekly to monthly basis accelerates success.
- Letting the Profit Motive Become Unhitched from the Purpose Motive
Strategy is typically about increasing profitable growth and that’s a good thing! Engaged employees, however, want to be committed to a transcendent purpose that gives meaning to their work life. Because strategy execution is a “whole organization” activity, reinforcing organizational purpose must be part of the strategy as well. Successful organizations maximize both profit and purpose. When employees lose a sense of contribution and purpose and become driven solely by profit, the development of ethical problems, poor service, and bad products occur — which our economy has been a living example for the last several years (witness from Wall Street to BP).
The title of this piece, as you recall, include the words “Fatal” and “Mistakes” — and that’s exactly what these four points are…and why it’s dangerous to risk making even one of them. Navigating the journey of strategic planning for profitability growth is often less perilous with an expert guide at your side.