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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Why Strategic Planning Fails - Part 5

By: Tim Johnson

Integrating into how you do business

This is the fifth installment in a blog series that discusses potential pitfalls that could hold you back from being fully successful in your strategic planning efforts.  The first was ensuring that you have full leadership support before you begin the strategic planning initiative, the second was generating needed buy-in across the organization, the third was making sure you build that strategy in a way that it can be executed effectively and the fourth was prioritizing to narrow your focus and bite off what you can chew.  As I started the first blog of the series, most things that I have been successful at in my life have been because I did it the right way and using the right tools.  At the Balanced Scorecard Institute, we have the “Nine-Step Process” to building a strategic management system.  We believe in this approach and we have helped hundreds of clients develop comprehensive strategic plans with a management system that enables them to effectively execute strategy.  I myself have worked with over 80 organizations and have seen very successful strategic planning efforts and also those that were less so!  I wanted to share some observations as to where those that were not as successful went wrong along the way. 

The fifth pitfall is not integrating the strategy into how you do business.  I was once at an organization conducting interviews in preparation of facilitating strategic planning and made a startling observation.  My first day onsite I noticed one of those old metal filing cabinets, and on top was a plant that was kind of wilted and maybe overwatered.  There were leaves fallen all around and the plant was sitting on a thick document to keep it from rusting out that filing cabinet.  For some reason I went over and lifted the plant and found that the organization’s previous strategic plan was the filing cabinet protector!  I took a picture of this phenomenon and then made sure to open up the strategic planning session by displaying that picture.  I told them if this is what we are going to do with the strategy we are about to develop, then let’s just all go home now!  Of course, they got the message, but the point is that if you are going to go through the effort then really make the strategy you develop a part of how you do business.  Budgets should be aligned accordingly (not putting funding against the strategy is obviously a huge impediment!), rewards and incentives should be aligned, training should be built in to support future skill requirements, IT priorities should reflect desire future capability development to name just a few integration points.  To truly make strategy work, it must be integrated across the breadth of the entire organization.

If this pitfall sounds familiar, contact us. Organizations have leveraged BSI’s expertise for many years by bringing us onsite to facilitate strategic actions to improve performance, build strategic management systems, provide on-site technical support, and coach leaders and managers how to execute strategy and create high performance organization.

Over the next few blogs we will explore two additional potential pitfalls I have seen that hold organizations back from realizing the many benefits to developing a strategy and a supporting strategic management system.

Missed Part 4 of the blog series? You can read it here.  Read Part 6 here

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Author: Tim Johnson
Tim Johnson

Tim JohnsonTim Johnson

Tim is a contributing author and Director at Jabian Consulting with over 32 years of experience in management and professional services management consulting. Areas of expertise include strategic planning, portfolio management, performance measurement/management, project management and business process improvement.

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