Managers struggle with strategic planning — to the extent that some experts claim that there’s no such thing. Actually, strategic planning is a very useful part of the toolkit, provided you can avoid the stumbling blocks.
Strategic planning has been branded a “big lie.” One reason is that what really unfolds for an organization is not the same as what was articulated in the strategic plan to begin with. The result “emerges.” In other words, the plan needs updating as time progresses.
Another criticism is that what takes place in “strategic” planning isn’t “strategy” at all. Business-as-usual takes over and the creative thinking behind bold business moves becomes sidelined. For these and other reasons strategic planning has long been scheduled for a big “fall.” That prediction was made nearly 30 years ago.
You need to not only accept volatility but also recognize your inability to come up with the perfect plan. Change your strategy mindset.
Even if we thought we’d found the perfect plan, it wouldn’t be the answer for very long. The business’s circumstances are changing so fast.
Don’t get stymied by overemphasizing “planning” in your company’s strategy development.
Strategic planning is a way of making sense of an uncertain future. That’s not to say the future will turn out exactly as planned. Nor does it mean no plan at all since even an often-changing plan produces preparedness.
Budgeting takes place within the context set by the strategic plan. The point at which the budget is set is the same point at which executive and shareholder expectations are put in place. Now circumstances change. And in a flexible planning environment, so does the strategic plan.
Loosen the coupling between budget and plan.
Strategic planning won’t disappear anytime soon. It’s a way of shaping how to negotiate a changing future. Everyone needs that.
A strategic plan is also not a set-and-execute document. Developing it involves a responsive process of continual anticipation. It’s a way to contemplate changing circumstances. Without a plan, you lack preparedness.
So, your strategic plan will be “wrong.” That’s ok. Go ahead and make one anyway.
More like this
Strategic Planning Process Steps | Lucidchart Blog
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