Key strategic planning mistakes to avoid

Recently I’ve been helping executives with their planning for 2020.
Here are some of the common mistakes I observe regarding their planning process:

One and done:

These organizations try to tackle planning in one event–usually a retreat or leadership team meeting.   They try to pack in too many issues in one marathon meeting. Feels like an endurance test for executives involved.

Strategic planning is a process–not an event. The process is iterative. It takes time and thought outside of formal meetings.

Data dump:

Some organizations load up a truck of data and unload it in a meeting. Data comes in the form of charts, spreadsheets, PowerPoint slides, binders, etc. People get buried in details–stuck in analysis paralysis.

Know the real data you need. Less is more.


Some companies do a SWOT analysis that has become a rote exercise. One executive described their company’s planning process as “stale and exhausting.” You may be following a standard practice that’s been passed down for years.

Be willing to break the cycle. Try something new.

Winging it:

Entrepreneurial companies often do informal planning–taking notes on the back of a napkin. They are used to moving quickly and adapting to change.

Do have a plan, but keep it simple. Be deliberate. You’ll be more likely to hit your targets.

Ultimately you need to decide what approach works best for you and your organization given where you are now.

It’s tempting to default to your usual planning process, but if you want to drive more innovation in your organization, as many executives do, innovate your planning process itself.

The planning process doesn’t have to be arduous. It should be energizing for you and your team.

Don’t be afraid to shake things up a bit.
Stir new thinking to generate new growth.

PS — Let me know what you’d like to change about your planning process.

Contact Gayle Now​

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