Is your company full of smart, passionate people, who have strong ideas about your business? Do they have trouble agreeing on a strategy and sticking to it?

The problem is pretty simple:  many smart people are used to being the smartest person in the room.  Consequently, they are often rewarded for ignoring the ideas of others.  Furthermore, they have bad experiences when they allow others to convince them of alternatives.  The result is often gridlock if a bunch of those smart people work together in the same company.  In many cases, strategic discussions create such rancor that many are reluctant to engage in them.  Ultimately, the result is analysis paralysis – constant delays to get more information, to the point of inaction.  The problem is so real that some industries have little, if any, good strategic planning going on.

How can you avoid this issue?

Avoiding hiring smart people is NOT the answer.  Rather, you should look at ways to encourage teamwork and team-developed solutions as a normal course of business.  Give these people a chance to experience the positive benefits of cooperation.  Also, you should use a planning process designed to foster teamwork (as Simplified Strategic Planning is). Build a foundation of agreement upon data. Next analyze your data.  Finally draw your conclusions and execute your plans.  In addition, use a credible, respected outsider to facilitate your strategic planning process. This can both speed up the process and create a much stronger sense of buy-in from the whole team.

How do you handle having too many smart people in your strategic planning?  We’d love to hear ideas about how you manage this – or talk with you about how we can help.  Attend our next seminar on Simplified Strategic Planning to learn more about encouraging teamwork and other aspects of strategic planning.

Robert Bradford is President & CEO of the Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc.  He can be reached at

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

Co-Author, M. Dana Baldwin

Robert Bradford

Co-Author, Robert Bradford

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