By M Dana Baldwin

Strategic Planning Expert

While many strategic planning efforts succeed in developing good, workable strategic plans, why is it that some never complete their work and never get off the ground?  What are the factors that lead to teams discontinuing their planning before reaching their goal of setting the course and direction for their organization?

Lack of commitment by top management can lead to teams not completing their planning process.  When the CEO/President delegates strategic planning to a team , but does not actively participate in the process, what is the effect on the team members?  Too often, it tells the team that the results of their work will not be well-received, will not be followed up with concrete actions and will not be respected by top management.  It is critical that the top management team actively participate throughout the planning process.

Lack of focus and control can also significantly hurt a planning process.   When the team is allowed to continually get off task in either the development or execution phases of strategic planning, not only is time wasted, but people on the team see that their input is not being appreciated.  This can lead to waning concentration flagging commitment to the resulting plan.  Keeping the team on task, managing time effectively and helping to assure the appropriateness of discussions leads to effective planning.

If there is a contentious atmosphere in the team sessions, with people arguing about every little thing and no overall consensus being developed, there is a high likelihood that the strategic plan will not be completed.  The team has to buy into the concept that the overall goal is to develop a strategic plan that helps build the effectiveness of the organization and leads to higher levels of performance and better, measurable results.  Active discussion and healthy skepticism are appropriate and necessary to help assure that good analyses and winning strategies emerge from the planning process.   When this gives way to outright arguments and disagreements which get personal and even vitriolic, the objectivity of the sessions will be lost and nothing good can come from continuing. This is where strong process leadership is necessary to obtain a good result.

When leadership is inexperienced, biased or weak, the team can become lost and ineffective.  A good leader will keep the team focused on the facts, bring out the best analysis of the many subjects being discussed and keep things rolling along.  Good leaders assure effective use of the team’s time and input, keep discussions focused and strategic and deliver a strategic plan which drives the organization forward.  Such an actionable plan well-executed will deliver the improved results, market share and profitability desired.

If your planning efforts are not as effective as you would like, please give me a call at 616-575-3193 or email me at so we may discuss your situation.  We can help you deliver better strategic plans.  Give us a call.

Would you like to learn how to develop an actionable plan that will deliver the improved results, market share and profitability that your organization needs? Attend the Simplified Strategic Planning Seminar for a more in-depth instruction on this subject as well as all other aspects of Simplified Strategic Planning.

M. Dana Baldwin is a Senior Consultant with Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached by email at:

© Copyright 2017 by Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI — Reprint permission granted with full attribution.

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