Planning is always good, right, or is it?!? Planning allows for setting expectations and timelines. Being prepared helps people and organizations reach their goals. Strategic planning in particular dives into evaluating the status quo, determining goal setting, and exploring the metrics to achieve the goals set. It is a great way to be clear on what the goals are and how to achieve them. The process lays out a road map to achievement. How can that be a bad thing?
There is a negative side to strategic planning. Strategic planning is linear. The process creates one the map to one future to follow. This one linear map can blind us to outside threats and even opportunities. Many strategic plans get used like a check list or set of directions to follow. People think the evaluation is done and focus most if not all of their attention on the execution of action items in the plan. That tactic works great when the variables that go into the plan are relatively static. Static is not a word I would use to describe the times we are living in right now! Change is happening at a rapid pace. Our world is increasingly complex and ambiguous. We can no longer make one plan and think we are good to go for the next 3 years. There is no one “official future” for us to follow. Thinking there is sets organizations and people up for failure.
Does all this mean strategic planning is actually a bad thing? Yes and no. Organizations still need to plan. Planning should include check points along the way, not only at the end. The check points cannot be simply to monitor the progress of the plan. Consistently looking around at what’s happening both internally to the organization and industry as well as externally in the world at large is necessary for continued success.