A properly conducted strategic planning process creates your company’s roadmap to sustainable, profitable growth. However, for strategic planning to be successful the company culture needs to allow for the exploration of new ideas and encourage rational, candid debate. On top of that, everyone involved in developing the company’s strategic plan 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, making trade-offs, and so on. These are all important components of the planning process not to be underestimated in their importance on a successful outcome.
The key obstacles to successful strategic planning have little to do with market data or analysis. Corporate culture is often the main roadblock.
Cultural 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:
- Status-quo does not get challenged
- Lack of curiosity
- Denial of the facts
- Unwilling to discuss sensitive issues
- Not Invented Here
- Short-term thinking
- Low tolerance for risk
- Lack of patience
- Conflict avoidance
- 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 a negative, destructive corporate 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 just a few of these symptoms, you’re either fortunate and your business is in great shape or you’re in denial of the cultural 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 organization will need to make to become more successful.
Before you start thinking about strategic planning make sure that you understand the company’s culture and attitudes. It is critically important to have an environment in which anything and everything can be discussed in a candid, 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. You’ll have to work on improving the culture first, before you can embark on any strategic planning initiatives.
Is your organization ready for Strategic Planning?