Marvin Bower, in his latest book: The Will to Manage says that strategic planning is very much about adjusting the organization to its environment, solving basic problems, avoiding constraints, capitalizing on inherited or developed advantages and taking advantage of key opportunities. Were you able to see opportunities in any of these aspects? If your answer was yes, you should know that there are many possibilities to diversify the traditional format of strategic planning in companies.
In this post you will learn more about them and you will see some of the most common challenges faced by organizations when making plans for the future.
In 1974, a research conducted by the American Management Association revealed that the lack of knowledge about the effectiveness of what was being done made US companies lose US$ 400 million on a daily basis. Although old, the research highlights a situation that is very common to today’s organizations, which is the way in which they plan their strategies.
One of the biggest global debates today revolves around how to reduce the waste of material resources as well as of precious “artifacts” such as time – one of the topics to be covered in strategic planning. However, there are other points that need to be dealt with before getting there. Let’s check them out.
Potential Challenges of Strategic Planning
Oftentimes, the process of creating a strategic plan is exhaustive and isolated, which can lead to distancing or lack of engagement from company members in terms of achieving the established goals. Moreover, aspects such as innovation can be left out due to a lack of preparation by the leaders who draw up the plan, either due to lack of time or knowledge. Below, we have three challenges that companies may face while developing their business planning.
Leadership vision and training
As we have mentioned, a lack of knowledge from the leadership can leave innovation behind or even undermine the focus and efficiency of the planning process. In practice, this means that there is a difficulty in seeing new ways and different ways of doing things – either to turn them into something absolutely new or to promote improvements in existing processes, maintaining competitiveness and value.
Collaboration and integration of areas
On several occasions we have reinforced the importance of bringing multidisciplinary teams together in order to obtain their collaboration in the company’s creative and decisive processes. In the context of strategic planning, the presence of people with different backgrounds and functions may offer perspectives that leaders alone could not achieve. This, in turn, can bring the plan closer to the reality of employees, thus, making it more executable and engaging.
Clear definition of objectives and targets
It may seem simple, but one of the major challenges for companies is to clearly state what their goals are and how they will be executed. Another point is that many of them ignore a very important part of this process: how to measure this process’ progress and results.
We discussed just a few of the things that can influence the effectiveness of your organization’s strategic planning. However, a good exercise for anyone looking for a new way to draw a strategic plan is to try to answer the following questions (you can use the comments space for this!):
- What is my company’s current situation?
- Where do we want to go?
- How can we get there?
- Who is involved in this process?
- How is the market in which my company is inserted?
- How can we measure results in the middle of the process?
If you find it difficult to answer any of these questions, it may be time to re-evaluate the way you are planning the future of your business. In the next post, we’ll talk about how Design Thinking can help you carry out this process in a collaborative and organized way.