Developing a strategic plan is, as you know, one of the most important tools you have on the road to success for your business or organisation. It then comes as no surprise that you have to make sure there are no mistakes in it from the outset. After all you don’t launch a boat without checking for holes first.
In order for your team to reach its full potential and meet its goals, while saving time and funds, it’s important to carry out the strategic planning process properly. To help you write a strategic plan for your organisation we’ve put together this short list of mistakes that easily can find their way into an otherwise waterproof strategy.
Here are 4 typical mistakes to avoid when creating a strategic plan:
Many balls, no goalie
A very common mistake in strategic plans is an excess of priorities. The more tasks you focus on, the higher the risk that you forget one of them. When you think about it, it’s right there in the name. “Strategy” is the act of choosing what to focus on!
A great way to avoid this is by making sure that your meetings are effective. Using a meeting tool where you prepare the meeting agenda in advance lets you decide what priorities are up for discussion. Each team member might have their own ideas, but this way you decide on the central focus and goals. Common focus areas are launching new products, improving workplace culture, increase revenue, and so on.
To sum it up, when deciding on strategic priorities for your organization, consider only the most important tasks. That should be about 3-4 overall to focus on what will get your organisation to its ideal future.
For some more of our thoughts on setting goals, watch this video:
Your team isn't buying your vision
Aiming for the future and deciding on how to steer your organisation is easier after developing a vision. This should be an imaginary “after photo” of what you think your company or organisation will look like in x amount of time. Almost every organisation, big or small, have a vision. A common problem however is that the vision is too “out there” and that the people working towards it don’t buy it!
So, to make sure that your vision is one that many can see happening there are some things to consider:
Create a realistic timeline and up/down-scale depending on your size. For a smaller organisation a vision that is 1 year into the future might be enough, whilst larger organisations might already see what their 10 year mark will look like!
Measurable and achievable. Come on, this is business 101. This also goes for visions. Putting your overall vision into a tool for strategic planning helps to keep it updated and showsyour employees how close they are to achieving it.
Make the vision one that your people can rally around. With everyone looking towards the same vision, your organisation has a better chance of excelling in their everyday work. Your vision should be a guiding light and an inspiration!
One of the bases of a strategic planning process is setting goals, not just for the organisation but also for the individual employee. That’s how you let those under you know what they should be doing on a day-to-day basis. These goals should be something they carry with them every day and that influence them in everything they do.
A common mistake in strategic planning is to not make the goals SMART. SMART goals are those who are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, & Time-bound. Some goals that are non-SMART include: improve customer service, increase sales, issue reports, and so on!
The problem with goals like these is that they are missing a date for them to be completed, as well as numbers indicating when they are met. So read up on your SMART strategy, and your strategic plan should be half finished already!
Once you’ve finished your strategic planning and things are on track, we know how easy it is to fall into old habits or to simply forget. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how well put together your strategic plan is if you leave it in a binder somewhere. This is something we see quite often and is one of the biggest mistakes finding its way into strategic plans. So first of all, digitalise your strategic plan.
A digital tool for strategic plans is the first step to creating a process for reviewing the work that's been done and keeping people accountable for their actions. This is very helpful since people tend to lose interest in completing tasks when they know that no one is going to look at the outcome. A meeting tool can also help to organise regular meetings that keep the strategic plan top of mind, reminding everyone to focus on their goals. The strategic planning tool should also track and review your employees’ goals and the overall strategic plan on a continuous basis.
And there you have it!
Your strategic planning process is a chance to set the organization on the right path, so make sure it doesn’t contain any of these four mistakes!