During my twenty-five years of facilitating strategic planning processes for a wide variety of organizations and communities, I have heard many myths about strategic planning. You may even believe some of them yourself. Let’s bust some of the myths. Here goes…
Myth #1: Small business owners don’t need a strategic plan unless they intend to get money from investors or banks.
- Myth Buster #1: Even if you are starting a business with your own funds, a strategic plan will help create a clear set of blueprints in order to manifest your inspired business concept.
Myth #2: Strategic planning is boring drudgery to be tolerated, much like swallowing awful-tasting medicine that’s good for you in the long run.
- Myth Buster #2: Strategic planning is, in fact, a fun way to make a unique brand come alive. Every strategy and action is an opportunity to make the planning and implementation fun.
Myth #3: The strategic planning process is a hard, complex, heady process that only someone with an MBA could possibly appreciate and understand.
- Myth Buster #3: Strategic planning can tap into the unique wisdom and understanding of your company’s employees. Avoid using complicated terms and models. Instead, keep it simple and understandable by all.
Myth #4: Strategic planning is an esoteric process, reserved for leaders in Fortune 500 companies and created on corporate “mountain-tops.” Then, management delivers the completed tablets to its loyal subjects in the form of new laws to follow.
- Myth Buster #4: You can use strategic planning as a way to strengthen collaboration and cooperation, using the process to reenergize and engage employees and create alignment around a loftier mission and a concrete action plan.
Myth #5: Employees have more important things to do than to waste time planning. Besides, frontline employees don’t care about planning and have very little to contribute to the process anyway.
- Myth Buster #5: Everyone wants to be part of something great, and each person wants to be heard. Your company will experience powerful results by giving every employee a voice. The collective vision will prove to be very lucrative for all stakeholders. Employees do, indeed, care—and have a lot to offer.
Myth #6: Strategic plans are just nice pronouncements that collect dust on a bookshelf, to be opened again only at next year’s company retreat.
- Myth Buster #6: Even if the type of planning process you are accustomed to has been a yearly exercise in futility that can be changed now to make the process more meaningful. Consider creating dynamic strategic roadmaps every few months, which will help re-focus resources on what matters most and keep the company’s enduring cultural values alive.
In summary, from my experience, these myths are far from the truth. In truth, a strategic planning process done well . . .
- is an engaging, inspiring and fun opportunity to create collaboration and cooperation among all employees
- creates alignment from the top of the organization to the frontline—getting everyone moving in the same direction toward the same vision and goals
- attracts the right and perfect employees and customers, people who resonate with the organization’s culture and aspirations
- energizes and lifts the organization and everyone in it to the next level of success and fulfillment!
Enjoy creating your own inspiring and engaging strategic planning process to energize you and your business for the new year!
Much success and fulfillment,
(Adapted from the Preface and Chapter 14 of Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process by Ray Madaghiele. Learn more and receive freebies and Holiday special promotions at www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz .)