Have you ever attended a strategy retreat? What contribution did you make in your strategic planning process? How long did it take to get the final strategic plan document out? Do you know that many strategic plan documents do not have defined strategies?
Get a copy of the final strategic plan document, you will find three mistakes: i) Lack strategy, ii) analysis paralysis and iii) a constraining vision, among others.
Lack of strategy in the strategic plan
Perhaps the biggest mistake in many strategic plans is the absence of clear strategy articulation. If you get a copy of any strategic plan document, you will be lucky to find a page that defines the specific company strategy. remember, strategy is about making choices on how to win with the customer and other key stakeholders against the competition. How do you plan to win? Who is your target market segment? What do you plan to sell them? What delivery channels do you plan to use? How will you reach them? What is your geographical coverage? Inadequate articulation of the choices to win is top of the mistakes leaders makes when planning.
Challenge for you: get a copy of your strategic plan document. Read through it and open a page or section where the strategy has been defined. Read it. Hint: your company strategy should be articulated on one page!
Many strategic planning documents are written like research papers. Not that research is bad. It is just too much information and analysis without an application on how to win is not good. Open any strategic plan document, you will find over 90% of pages are a ‘mile wide and inch deep’ analysis. That means the analysis is shallow. Covers a lot about the external environment instead of the internal assessment and what it takes to win.
Every company has mastered the art of research. There is so much data about the political, economic, social, demographic, technological, legal etc environment analysis. Unfortunately, limited contextual analysis is made an application to the strategy.
If you want to plan to win, first ask why you are not winning in the first place. Stop analysis paralysis. Do not try to guarantee success by attempting to examine everything there is to study. Focus on increasing your odds of success.
To be continued
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, Mr Strategy.