The value of strategic planning is clear when followed through upon to successful completion. But plans alone do not equal success. At the core of business success is people.

“If you ever want a strategic plan that’s going to work, make sure you have somebody handling all of the things that come out of strategic planning – the self doubt, the fear, the contradiction, the animosity. Plans get executed because of individuals, not because of the content in the document.”

Doug Page, President & COO, Performa

It’s an all too common situation. Leadership understands the importance of strategic planning, sets the stage for business growth, hands over a significant investment in exchange for a hefty bound document and then it happens: nothing. Tactics lie dormant, processes never change and the needle on sales and revenue remains motionless.

Statistics show only one out of every three organizations integrates its plans into its daily operations with high effectiveness. Why? Because the focus is on the plan itself. A solid strategic plan is the foundation, but when it comes to executing on that plan—underlying considerations crucial to its success are often left unaddressed.

It’s the things like open communication, contradiction, fear of change and animosity—the things that occur thanks to human nature—that poise you for success or failure. It’s the people and the relationships that move organizations from plan to execution to realization of goals.

A strategic plan alone is not enough, it must go hand-in-hand with the following:

  1. The Right People Involved: One of the greatest points of failure in strategic business efforts revolves around making sure the right team is on the bus. It is essential that planning team members are people who are committed to the growth of the company, and who can provide valuable input to the process.
  2. Open, Transparent Communication: Right alongside having the right team members involved comes ensuring all are on the same page and working together. Good communication is a failure point in any business situation but one that is intensified in such a high profile, high impact initiative.
  3. Never Create a Plan for Plans-Sake: Every good organization has a documented plan, right? It’s a common business mindset. Yet, when approached incorrectly, this notion easily translates to teams simply going through the motions of developing a plan simply because common sense warrants it. Don’t create a plan for plans-sake. If you’re going to take the time to do it, do it right.

It’s the people that must, together, buy into the vision. It’s the people that need to accept accountability for implementation. It’s the people, at the end of the day, who will make the biggest impact. At Pathmakers, our job is to help you address the elements of strategic planning that don’t come top of mind to most. We help hold you accountable and guarantee the right people are involved, communicating and united towards the same vision—to get you from flashy new binder to actual business impact.