I bumped into this terrific article in Mike Johnson’s sales newsletter (Mike runs Sales Solutions) by Rick Seaman of Strategy Implementation and was glad when Rick consented to me republishing it here on my weblog…
Owners of small businesses often seem to believe in myths surrounding the subject of strategic planning and implementation, myths that can prove dangerous to the health of the organization and their personal goals.� (The �myths� in quotation marks are actual statements from CEO�s.� The rest were unstated but implied by their actions.)
Myth #1: �We don�t need a strategic plan!�
The truth is that every organization needs some form of plan to guide its actions during turbulent market conditions or it will simply respond to, and be controlled by, events outside the firm.� It is just too easy to �drift off course� in a chaotic tactical environment.
Myth #2: Strategic planning can only be done at a resort.
Strategic planning is serious and shouldn�t be equated with a vacation.� Everyone can play golf on their own time.� All you need for a productive process is a meeting room at a local hotel or conference center.
Myth #3: �It interferes with our real jobs.�
Strategic planning is arguably the most important part of your job because it can determine the effectiveness of all the rest of your efforts.
Myth #4: �We can do it without any help.�
It is extremely difficult to both participate in and facilitate the same meeting.� There is an almost irresistible urge to problem solve on detailed issues and therefore lose track of the big picture.
Myth #5: Planning will predict the future.
Planning can reduce risk, but not eliminate it.� It is easy to forget that any plan is a set of actions based on an assumption of how the future will unfold.� Exploring alternative futures, and the actions needed under those conditions, improves your ability to respond to whatever happens.
Myth #6: Planning is done when the retreat is over.
Planning is a process, not an event.� If it is not a continued, integral component of the management of your firm, it is indeed a waste of time.
Myth #7: The plan is a binder on a shelf.
Documentation is necessary but the real benefit of a good plan is the mental framework for problem solving that it provides to employees.� A strategic plan is really a way of thinking about the business, and it should change the way everyone goes about their job.
Myth #8: The plan will automatically produce results.
Without frequent, systematic oversight and review by you and the management team, there will be little implementation and the plan reduced to just a set of words.
Myth #9: If the CEO says it, it will happen.
Actual execution of any plan only takes place when employees change their behavior to comply with the requirements of the plan.� To implement the plan, employees must understand it and be willing to make the necessary changes to how they go about their individual jobs.�
Myth #10: �The plan is too confidential to be shared with regular employees.�
See Myth #9.� Even the best strategic plan will never produce the desired results if the people who have to implement it don�t know what it is.
A well thought out, structured strategic plan executed by the employees is your best protection against the threat of changing market conditions, and the best tool for achieving your personal goals for the business.
Author Rick Seaman is President of Strategy Implementation, Inc., a management consulting firm that helps small companies align their strategy and culture with market conditions.� He has a BS degree from the U. S. Naval Academy and an MBA from Stanford University, and can be reached at StrategyImplementation.com.