One of the biggest problems with Strategic Planning and Small Businesses is that the plan never gets actioned. So much time and effort is put into coming up with the Strategic Plan that fatigue sets in and the momentum required to keep the ball rolling tends to dwindle to nothing.
When the convictions and visions of the people who have architected the plan are unable to carry it forward into the action stage it is left for others in the organisation to move it forward. This is when the serious fall-out hits the fan.
- Project and resource managers begin to fight over resources, which leads to bottlenecks that cause too much work in some areas and leave others idle.
- Without a driver for the plan, project priorities begin to frequently change so resources get reassigned leaving nothing to work with.
- The chain of authority becomes confused and conflicting management instructions on the approval and release of projects causes chaos.
- Projects are released as soon as approved by a senior manager, irrespective of the availability of the resources to do the work causing stress and friction amongst team members.
- The length of time it takes to implement change actually becomes longer as the uncertainty over authority and process begins to unravel.
- Without a guardian for the plan, even if a strategic idea is implemented, it may not achieve major or expected improvement because it hasn’t been thoughtfully vetted.
- Sometimes in the haste to implement the documentation requirements go out the window and results in projects that have no relationship to the goals or strategic plan for the business.
- Employee and management turnover increases as empires and kingdoms are formed within the organisation to help people cope with the uncertainty and lack of boundaries, systems or processes.
The Missing Pieces That Make a Strategic Plan Work
- If the strategic plan is presented as a list of ideas or initiatives it can be difficult for diverse stakeholders to understand the plan in a unified way. This leads to communication breakdowns and activity stalemates as people attempt to re-establish a common understanding of what everyone is supposed to be working towards.
- A strategic plan that hasn’t factored in ways to validate if the proposed initiatives will be able to meet the organisation’s goals can create business wide busy-ness that fails to manifest in growth, profitability or the achieving of any of the business goals the plan is intended to achieve.
- Having a strategic plan that is purely a list of ideas without any form of prioritisation or recommended sequence in which to approach individual tasks or projects, is a budget blow out waiting to happen. Without any guidance on a timeline, people are left to assume their own milestones and deadlines, which can be anything from everything needs to get done simultaneously to we’ll wait until someone asks for it. Neither is particularly helpful.
It’s not enough to have a Strategic Plan you need to actually do something with it and that means clearly communicating it to your team and giving them the information they need so that they can put it into action in an orderly fashion. Having metrics and timelines and putting in systems, processes and levels of authority and accountability will make things run smoothly as you get where you want to be going.
If your business doesn’t currently have a Strategic Plan or is falling apart whilst attempting to implement one you need to call in a business coach or business consultant who can help you get it together. In Melbourne, David Guest is able to help business owners, executives and entrepreneurs get a handle on their Strategic Plan so that it’s put into action.
The sooner you get a Strategic Plan the sooner your business and team will be able to help you build your vision and take your business where you want to go.