A properly conducted strategic planning process creates your company’s roadmap to sustainable, profitable growth. However, to make the planning effort successful the company culture needs to allow the exploration of new ideas and support rational debate. Everyone involved needs to have the right mindset.
Creating a sound Strategic Plan takes time, a lot of hard work and an open mind. Gathering market intelligence, analyzing this information, figuring out what it all means, evaluating your options, and so on. These are all important components of the planning process.
The key obstacles to successful Strategic Planning have little to do with market data or analysis. The main roadblocks are corporate culture, as well as people’s attitudes and mindsets.
Obstacles to Strategic Planning
Here’s a list of individual and organizational behavioral and cultural attitudes that stand in the way of a company’s ability to develop a sound strategic plan:
- Not open to criticism
- Not challenging the status quo
- Lack of curiosity
- Not open to discussing sensitive issues
- Having all the answers
- Not asking the right questions
- Not facing reality
- Lack of courage
- Short-term thinking
- Low tolerance to risk
- Lack of patience
- Avoiding conflict
- Lack of knowledge
- Lack of analysis
- Too much analysis
- Lack of accountability
- Fear of failure
- Inability to listen
- Lack of creativity
Do any of these sound familiar? If so, you may sufficient self-awareness to start breaking out of the negative, destructive culture. More than likely, you’ll need outside help to improve the company culture and the prevalent attitudes, but at least you’re aware of the problems.
On the other hand, if your organization shows none or perhaps very few of these symptoms, and everything is just fine, you’re either very fortunate and your business is in great shape or you’re in denial of the internal problems your company is facing. In the latter case, it will be difficult for you to engage in open, honest discussions about the changes your company needs to make to become more successful.
Before you start thinking about conducting Strategic Planning make sure that you understand the company’s culture and attitudes. It is critically important to have an environment in which anything can be discussed openly and honestly, in a fair, professional and rational manner, without emotions getting in the way, and without fear of reprisals. If that environment is not present, any attempt at Strategic Planning is going to be futile.
Is your organization ready for Strategic Planning?