It’s around this time of year where strategic plans start to fail. The Management team met to develop a killer strategy, one that would be executed this year (unlike the one from last year which sat on the shelf). But once things start to get busy the first thing to be dropped from the to-do list is the implementation of the plan – or project milestones start to slip.

In order for a business to continue to grow and stay ahead of the competition, a strategic plan is vital. Most business leaders know this, yet why do so many strategic plans fail or never get fully implemented?

The common thread

I have been working with companies to develop and execute Strategic Plans for more than 30 years, during that time I have realised there are a few things that the failures have in common. Once you have an understanding of these issues, it will be much easier to overcome them and reap the rewards of the strategic planning process.

Lack of process

While there is no one model for strategic planning, every organisation should have a process they follow when preparing a strategic plan. Lean offers the 7 step A3 Strategic Planning process, we use this process. It’s a proven tool, that results in a sustained competitive advantage in quality, delivery, cost and of course innovation. Click here to access your free eGuide that we have put together to assist with the planning process.

No cascading goals

Setting goals that link to strategy execution are vital, but they must cascade through the business so that everyone has a target to reach. The result is, that the entire organisation becomes involved with the delivery of the strategic plan, not just management. This means that everyone is pulling in the same direction.

No ownership

When no one is responsible for the execution of the strategic plan it’s understandable that it won’t be executed. It is also vital that those responsible for the execution of the plan are involved in the planning stage. The leadership team need to make a review of the A3 Strategic Plan their first priority at the monthly executive meetings.

Too busy for review

We hear this all too frequently. Managers embark on a 2-day off-site strategic planning session, but once they get back to their desk, it’s never implemented due to lack of time. When this happens the planning process loses credibility with all concerned and is often considered a waste of time.

Ask managers to report their progress monthly to the team. This also gives management the chance to review the priorities of the A3 plan.

Wrong structure

If the business structure and people in leadership positions are not what’s needed to support the strategy then it’s unlikely it will be a success. It can be difficult to know what’s required and sometimes it can be a good idea to use outside consultants to support your planning initiatives.

There are many ways to overcome the above barriers to implementation of your strategic plan, if you would like to discuss these please don’t hesitate to contact me on 1800 104 899.