4 Things to Avoid When Developing a Strategic Plan
A valuable part of growing a company is strategic planning. People hire business consultants to help them develop gameplans for growth, usually built around an analysis involving the company's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Part of this process means having a clear view of the challenges and opportunities the firm faces. However, starting the plan based on your SWOT analysis results in tactics that will likely be out of date in one to two years. Here are things to avoid when creating a strategic plan.
Creating a vision unsupported by company values
The most significant error you might experience at a firm would be launching strategies without discussing their effects on the firm's vision. Your company's vision is its North Star. It should guide your firm and all your plans; otherwise, what you're doing with your SWOT is just a tactical plan that will not serve your goals in the long term.
Building your business on myths about your firm
Often, internally-generated SWOT analyses create a self-reported baseline, which means you're relying on anecdotes. These have the tendency to become myths, and anything repeated over and over becomes the truth.
Creating an accurate baseline involves getting a business consultant for the process. When you do this, you make an opportunity to challenge the prevailing assumptions and identify the facts which support your SWOT. The strategies you get from this process will be stronger and more attuned to the ground's realities.
Neglecting to build a culture of accountability
After creating a SWOT analysis that is true to the business' plans, you must be strategic in your implementation. Often, managers end up assigning responsibilities at firms. Doing this gets the job done in the meantime, but it is not as effective as letting people own their tasks.
When you assign someone to complete a job, they might do their best to accept it. However, employees assigned with tasks are unlikely to do their best and overcome all obstacles to get the job done. Ownership takes emotional investment, and if you let people decide how to do this, they will be more involved in their work.
Leaders are not modeling the desired behavior
A strategic plan must motivate people and inspire them to take the first steps forward. They should not create strategies that subordinates would hold as an impossible or fanciful ideal. It is the leader's responsibility to make it concrete to everyone the firm's plans and how they expect each person to work towards the vision.
The leader should be the one to instill courage in his employees. It is on him to push them beyond their capabilities and do so in a way that strengthens and not demoralizes them.
Having the courage to develop a sound strategic plan relies on a commitment to the company's vision. If everyone from the management down to the entry-level employees believe in their work, it creates a healthy environment that has a realistic view of its strengths and its points for improvement. This will happen if the leaders are examples of the traits they wish to see in employees.
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