Pitfalls in Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is an involved, intricate, and complex process that takes an organization into uncharted territory. It does not provide a ready-to-use prescription for success; instead, it takes the organization through a journey and offers a framework for addressing questions and solving problems. Being aware of potential pitfalls and being prepared to address them is essential to success.

Here are some pitfalls to watch for and avoid in strategic planning:

  • Using strategic planning to gain control over decisions and resources
  • Doing strategic planning only to satisfy accreditation or regulatory requirements
  • Too hastily moving from mission development to strategy formulation
  • Failing to communicate the plan to employees, who continue working in the dark
  • Top managers making many intuitive decisions that conflict with the formal plan
  • Top managers not actively supporting the strategic-planning process
  • failing to use plans as a standard for measuring performance
  • Delegating planning to a “planner” rather than involving all managers
  • failing to involve key employees in all phases of planning
  • failing to create a collaborative climate supportive of change
  • viewing planning as unnecessary or unimportant
  • Becoming so engrossed in current problems that insufficient or no planning is done
  • Being so formal in planning that flexibility and creativity are stifled17

Source: David Fred, David Forest (2016), Strategic Management: A Competitive Advantage Approach, Concepts and Cases, Pearson (16th Edition).

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