Strategy is the key to business success. Disciplined strategic planning is essential to capturing this strategy and working out how to execute it.
Some businesses fail to do this at all, but others go as far as to develop a plan, only to see it fail. What are the reasons for this failure?
The Right Reasons and People
Just because everyone else seems to have a strategic plan is not a good enough reason on its own to have one. Strategy requires full commitment and an understanding of how it can make a significant improvement to your business.
“A strategic plan must involve the right people, from its beginnings through to its conclusion, with management understanding that it must be willing to make the necessary decisions to make the plan work”
“People only commit to the process if they are clear, from the start, why they are having a plan, and that they must take the time to do it right,” Hywel suggests.
“Leadership can be an issue,” observes Hywel, “so it’s vital that key people in authority are behind the plan and championing it.”
Setting Realistic Goals
Are you recognising realities in the marketplace and anticipating potential problems?
“You can’t bury your head in the sand or discount problem areas because they haven’t yet had an immediate impact on you,” Hywel cautions.
“An effective planning process means taking facts on board and appraising things as they are, to understand how to then look ahead”
Strategic plans should contain realistic, manageable goals and objectives, and the programmes to carry them out. Moreover, there must be the resources available to realise them.
“Think in terms of fewer, but focused, goals,” advises Hywel, “and always pursue results.”
Following on and Acting
Effective strategic planning must mean a willingness and capability to change. Without change, there can be no positive outcome.
“Market conditions change and an agile business will change to meet them,” Hywel says.
Demonstrating commitment to strategy means being accountable for putting the plan into action and seeing it through. Not delivering must have consequences.
“Building a realistic direction for your business requires an effective planning process,” Hywel concludes, “and a well-thought out strategy that means something, and that everyone can get behind.”