The evidence that strategic planning is the road to a better future for the organization is conclusive.1 Yet only a subset of organizations achieve great results and sustained excellence from planning. Why is that?
Our Strategic Leader Studies show that planning is most likely to bring success when the organization usesbest practices in planning and implementation.
That's why we developed the Fast Track Strategic Planning System. It is grounded in planning best practices. Use our system - ideally with our on-site facilitation - to raise the odds that your resulting strategic plan will produce the desired results.
Yet even with a great plan in hand, the plan still needs to be effectively implemented to attain the success that is envisioned. Execution is where planning most often fails, because, as strategy consultants say, "Planning is easy. Execution is hard."
That's why our focus beyond the Fast Track Strategic Planning System has been on helping leaders assure that plan execution will achieve the plan objectives.
Our research shows that great results from planning are most likely to be attained by using best practices in plan implementation, which include:
Reporting at regular intervals to the wider organization and the executive team on the plan, implementation progress and performance.
Setting plan performance measuresand a timeline for tracking and adjusting plan execution.
Assigning responsibility for plan implementation to individuals.
Tracking implementation against a pre-set timeline and measurable objectives.
Linking strategy and budgeting.
Scheduling re-planning and continuing to plan in the future.
Our research shows 40% or more of organizations with a plan do not observe these implementation best practices. That's a big reason why, for many organizations, planning fails to live up to its promise.
Yet, even when best practices are followed, planning and implementation can get derailed by a number of commonly experienced problems. On the Why planning fails page we identify and describe 17 of the most serious problems, many related to plan execution. You will see that we offer proven remedies for each of the problems.
In further exploration of root causes of planning failure, we have found that a fundamental issue, a big one that often goes unrecognized, is that leaders and organizations often do not make good strategic decisions. We find that leaders are generally unaware of a host of traps, fallacies, biases and errors that lead to bad decisions. Leaders and organizations generally don't take steps proven by extensive research that will lead to better decisions and better outcomes.
To help our clients make better strategic decisions, we have taken a deep dive into the elements of decision making to learn why decisions are made poorly and how leaders and organizations can produce better decisions when it really counts.
To increase the odds that you will attain the best future for your organization, we urge you explore and use our planning, execution and decision-making system, tools, framework and counsel.
Plan smart. Execute well.
1 Strategic planning has a positive effect on performance, both in quantitative and qualitative terms.” - Anders McIlquham-Schmidt, Aarhus University, 2010, based on a meta-analysis of 45 years of research involving 88 studies representing a total sample size of 32,472 observations.