BIG Strategy Playbook- Challenges in Strategic Planning

3 min read
Aug 2, 2023 2:03:32 PM

Challenges in Strategic Planning

3.1. Common Hurdles

3.1.1 Setting the Strategy

Clear, realistic goals; l/t vs s/t; and resource allocation

As a CEO, the first challenge in strategic planning is keeping your customers at the center of your plan. It is easy to turn inward, examining your strengths and weaknesses; however, your customers’ purchasing decisions drive your revenues. It is natural to feel that time not focused on your internal capabilities is time lost. Instead, we believe starting with your customers’ needs uncovers opportunities that stretch you, your leadership team, and your organization to realize 

Many organizations use the strategic planning process to 

setting an unambiguous north star that stretches you, your leadership team, and the organization beyond your comfort zone.


 Language such as, “industry leader,” is not sufficient; you cannot control the competition and therefore must focus on optimizing and expanding 


for the organization. There are strategic plans that maintain the status quo, continuing a linear growth rate. While we can support these efforts, partnering with CEOs to realize seemingly unattainable outcomes is our strength. For example, a client in the waste management industry, realizing they were a logistics company that happened to move garbage, invested in a digital transformation with the north star of being commodity agnostic. To make this change, the CEO had to balance his 5-year vision for the company with short-term performance pressures in their current business. Striking the right balance between allocating attention and resources between immediate needs and focusing on long-term strategy is a challenge.


3.1.2 Cultural Alignment

It is crucial to the success of a strategy and organization that employees' beliefs, values, and behaviors are aligned with those outlined in a plan. This cultural alignment can be a complex element of strategic planning, requiring navigating different organizational cultural aspects. This section will explore the importance of cultural alignment in strategic planning and possible challenges. Finally, we will offer strategies for creating an environment that supports your strategic vision.

3.2. The Consequences of Poor Planning

Strategic planning, or the absence of one, can have dire consequences for an organization. While strategic plans should guide an enterprise toward success, inadequate methods can instead have detrimental effects that limit growth and competitiveness.


Poor planning can result in missed opportunities to capitalize on emerging trends, market shifts, or technological advancements. By setting an appropriate strategic direction, organizations may recognize potential growth areas or assess any aspects that pose threats to their business environment that require closer examination. Failure to plan can result in lost market share, diminished competitiveness, and ineffective customer service. Furthermore, resources may be allocated ineffectively without an established strategic plan, leading to wastage and suboptimal performance. Departments within an organization may pursue competing goals, duplicate efforts, or invest in projects with low returns - this can strain financial resources, decrease overall productivity and hamper their ability to invest in critical initiatives driving growth and innovation. Organizations often need a comprehensive strategic plan to respond quickly to reactive decision-making, responding to immediate challenges without considering their long-term ramifications. Such short-sighted decision-making can prevent investments in innovation, research, and development that would enable it to adapt quickly to changing market conditions or seize future opportunities.


Organizations should prioritize strategic planning as an ongoing and dynamic process to address any consequences of poor planning practices. By creating a clear and forward-thinking strategic direction, businesses can more easily recognize growth opportunities, optimize resource allocation, and promote a culture of proactive decision-making. Engaging stakeholders at all levels and aligning with the strategic vision will ensure that employees remain dedicated and motivated in achieving the organization's goals. Furthermore, effective risk management and contingency planning must be integrated into strategic planning processes to effectively respond to challenges or disruptions that might arise during the execution of these plans. By prioritizing strategic planning as a critical driver of success for organizations, they can position themselves for sustained growth, increased competitiveness and successfully navigate today's ever-evolving business environment.


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