Why does Strategic Planning Fail?

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Organizations create a strategic plan yet they fail to execute the plan while other organizations fail to create a plan.  Most people agree that Strategic Planning has value.  Why is it so difficult to create and implement a plan?

1. Many companies today are reactive and focus on the next quarter. This causes them to lose sight of the long-term strategy. As a result, if they have a strategic plan it may not be practical.

2. The day-to-day management systems are not linked to the strategy so managers are not considering strategy when they make decisions. The approval and prioritization of work should be aligned with the long-term strategy but this rarely happens.

3. Long-term strategy begins at the corporate level. Each department contributes their own long-term strategy which should support the overall business strategy. This is not happening. e.g. The IT strategy is frequently independent of the overall business strategy. As a result, business and IT departments have confilcting priorities.

The solution is simple: Alignment and Visibility. The strategic plan for each department must align with the overall strategic plan and the management tools must provide visibility of how day-to-day activities support the strategic plan. Finally, the enterprise must constantly monitor to ensure that decisions are aligned with the strategy.

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