By Robert W. Bradford, President/CEO
I’ve heard this comment from people who are very successful. People who are running companies that – for the moment – are doing quite well. And yet, this comment puzzles me, mightily. It puzzles me because strategic planning is about doing the right thing in the right place at the right time. What could be more important than that?
When someone says they don’t have time for strategic planning, they don’t really mean they don’t have time. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week. Some do strategic planning, while others spend their time on other activities. What “I don’t have time for strategic planning” really means is “I haven’t made strategic planning a PRIORITY”. This scares me some times – when I hear it from people running larger companies – and it saddens me at other times, when I think about what any company can become with better strategic planning.
In the course of my work, I’ve encountered lots of people who run great companies. Lots of them wanted to work with me on strategy development – and I have heard the excuse “I don’t have time for strategic planning” from many of them. Sadly, some of them really needed it, and went out of business a few years later, after “not having time” for strategy. Some of them I have ended up working with and they have unanimously said “We wish we had found time for this years ago!” There is no question that companies that do strategic planning well end up much farther down the path to success faster than those who try to just “muddle through”.
The truth is, developing a strategic plan often creates the feeling you have MORE time, not less. This is because good strategic planning helps the whole team focus on the things that will truly drive your company forward, instead of tugging your organization in six different directions. Also, a good strategic plan will help you find activities that you are spending time and money on right now that aren’t moving you forward – so you can stop doing things that are just a waste of time and money. If you are familiar with Simplified Strategic Planning, you also know that the best process also pays very close attention to strategic issues that you do or do not have time for – and helps you to assure that highest priority is given to the issues most critical to your success.
So, what kind of company is yours? Do you have time to assure you are doing the right thing in the right place at the right time? Do you have time to build a dependable framework for growth and viability for your company? Or are you waiting until you feel you have “enough time” to do it? Take it from someone who has seen this come up a hundred times – there is no “right” time to do strategic planning. Don’t make the mistake of waiting for the right time only to find your best opportunities have passed you by. Schedule your next strategic planning meeting now!
Robert Bradford is President/CEO of the Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached at .