What Are the Most Common Roadblocks to Successful Strategic Planning?

Can you state your organization’s strategy simply? Can you determine whether or not it’s driving sustainable growth? If you hesitated on your answers you are not alone. The challenge for most is understanding what strategic planning truly means and how to use it to drive profitable growth for your company.

Obviously, strategy is a plan for the future – but not the near future –not this year, next month, nor next week. Strategic plans look further out, typically 3+ years and act as a guide and measuring stick to your company’s success. Your weekly, monthly, yearly Execution Plans are made with the purpose of fulfilling this Strategy. (We’ll come back to Execution Planning in my next article.)

You and your executive team determine the Strategy of your organization based on your Core Values, and Purpose – your reason for changing the world or your place in the world. In a recent blog article I spoke about how to determine your organization’s core values and purpose. I recommend reading it before you embark on any efforts in strategic planning as everything you do as a company should begin and end with your core values and purpose.

Your strategic plan is formulated based on goals that bring into mind your:

  • Economic engine—the part of your business that drives the revenue and profit.
  • Your purpose and what you want to do to bring the best of your business to the part of the world that you serve. What do you do best?

Establishing goals is another common area where many companies get stuck. The key is to BE SPECIFIC. And that is easier said than done. Here are a few tools and tips that will help you establish your company goals with greater success and ease:

Start BIG: Establish your BHAGs – Big Hairy Audacious Goals. Looking ahead as much as ten years, what is that stretch that creates a sense of purpose and excitement? These are measurable goals with Key Performance indicators that demonstrate your progress towards your goals.

Here are a couple good examples of BHAGs:

  1. I had a client who is building the public train system in an Asian country. He says his BHAG is to upgrade business practices to bring in more integrity in all business.
  2. Another European client wants to upgrade business in his country so that people recognize they are accountable and cannot blame others when their success does not meet their vision.

Visualize it and Put it in Writing: You’ve got the right people in place, you’ve established your Core Values and Purpose, and you’ve identified your Big Hairy Audacious Goals. Now what? You must tie it all together in one place. The Scaling Up Vision Summary is a great tool  and a good place to start in establishing your Strategic Planing Framework, particularly if you are a firm with 50 employees or under. It’s a lighter version of the Scaling Up One-Page Strategic Planning tool which fleshes out the important questions of who, what, when, where, how and why; and “should we” or “shouldn’t we” decision making. Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about the One Page Strategic Plan.

Strategic planning is only so good as the Execution of that plan. All of your processes should be running as trouble and drama-free as possible and driving industry-leading profitability. Stay tuned for my next article on executing your Strategic Plan with more tips and tools for keeping everyone in your organization on course to ensure success.

Scaling Up Business Workshop


Thursday, OCTOBER 14th  11:30am-1:00pm PST


– Is Your Top Leadership Team healthy and aligned?

– Do you have the right people, in the right place?

– Do they have clear accountabilities and metrics?

– Can you state your firm’s strategy simply? Is it driving sustainable growth?

– Are your processes running smoothly and driving profitability?

Register for the Scaling Up Business Workshop Today!