Strategic Planning 101: Conquer the 5 Most Common Mistakes

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is a buzzword that’s been tossed around boardrooms and executive circles for years – leaving many business leaders feeling as though they are chasing the elusive strategic planning ROI. Just like with leadership development or sales techniques, effective strategic planning is a learned skill. At FocalPoint Canada, we help our clients navigate their business goals by working with them to develop roadmaps for success – aka strategic plans.

To help you start thinking strategically about strategic planning, we’ve compiled solutions to the five most common mistakes made by CEOs across the country.

Identify Your Impact

The power of your company and its strategic vision for the future isn’t based in the widget you produce; it’s in the difference you make in the lives of your customers. For example, Albert Sabin didn’t create a medicated liquid; he created the vaccine that helped to eradicate polio. Identify the impact you make for your customers – including the problems you solve and the ways in which your product/service has (or could) become indispensable – and focus all of your energy on magnifying that power.

Consider the Competition

You aren’t operating in a vacuum, and you should start looking at your business through the eyes of your competition. If you were them, what would you do to steal customers or market segment away from your company? This practice gives you invaluable insight into vulnerabilities that need to be addressed and strengths that can be maximized.

Embrace the Experts

Your team is comprised of highly skilled professionals, and their combined knowledge is one of your company’s most valuable assets. Bringing key leaders into the strategic planning process not only expands the expertise at the table, but it also supports greater buy-in as you work to implement the plan. In the end, a more diverse strategic planning team helps owners and executives avoid the all-too-common mistake of developing a plan that’s disconnected from the actual challenges faced by the employees who are “in the trenches.”

Align All Action

One of the common strategic planning oversights is failing to align initiatives with clearly defined goals. More often, business leaders trust front line managers’ subjective definitions of what “progress” means. Every step in the implementation plan should be tied to measurable results – giving managers a way to track (and report on) their team’s success.

Initiate Implementation

Having a strategic plan is a valuable step towards achieving your greatest goals, but it does little if you don’t put it into action. Be strategic and develop an implementation plan that begins with educating managers and employees on the upcoming changes and new goals. By explaining each department’s role, you help to make the connection between each team member’s productivity and other departments’ abilities to move forward with the next stages of the plan.

For more tips on how to achieve more in the new year, read these related posts:

Get Expert Strategic Planning Advice with FocalPoint Canada

At FocalPoint Canada, we guide our clients in overcoming challenges and leveraging opportunities with proven processes and methodologies that have been used by thousands of successful businesses over the past two decades. Our FocalPoint business coaches use their expertise to teach our time-tested methods through individual coaching, group sessions, or trainings and workshops.

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