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LeadershipStrategy and Planning

Top 6 Reasons Strategy and Planning Processes Fail

By November 10, 2022No Comments
Angela Koning Leadership Coach


In my observation, facilitating multiple strategy and planning processes with a range of industry clients each year, there are a few places strategic planning processes can (and do) fall over.

Beyond confusing strategy (long-term intent, backed by quantifiable market data) with planning (short-term work execution), here are the top 6 reasons why strategic planning fails.

1. A lack of engagement by diverse, multi-organisation/industry/government/community stakeholders, where the leader produces a strategy in isolation (or with limited input) and then attempts to ‘sell it’ to others.

This leads to a lack of robustness, consideration of complexity, buy-in and ultimately, execution failure.

This can be mitigated in the design thinking, and co-generative process of the Strategic Conversation methodology.

(Ask me about this.)

2. The inability to invite, incorporate, assimilate and reconcile diverse points of view from a range of stakeholders and embrace problem ‘wickedness’ and complexity.

Facilitation skills and experience manage this risk, as does the preparatory work we do together prior to incorporate ‘voices’ of intent, design and change.

3. Lack of data-driven market analytics, modelling and quantifiable inputs to the planning process, which describe the size, merit and risks of market opportunities.

Robust pre-work is essential to strategy and planning – without quantitative data, you’re tilting at windmills.

Hopeful, at best.
Naive, at worst.
Ineffective, at least.

4. Development, communication and maturing the evolution of the strategy blueprint, which I’ve seen take months to write up because everyone is so exhausted from the intensity of the strategy and planning process itself.

My standard offer is to do the write-up for you within 10 business days, ensuring momentum, relevance and tangible materials which help you communicate and execute the forward strategy.

5. Execution fails as the leader ‘runs out of steam’, never actually converting the strategic (longer term) intent into a tangible, practical, operational plan.

I require the inclusion of an operational planning process as part of my strategy and planning offer.

Clients who don’t take this part of the offer don’t tend to work with me – you either engage fully with a solution that transformatively serves the organisation, or not – there are no half-executed approaches.

6. Too many priorities, projects, and unrealistic milestones which don’t account for the capability or capacity of the organisation to deliver alongside the core business.

An experienced facilitator will be able to spot this instantly and ask the tough questions to reconcile priorities within available resources.

What, in your experience, are other sources of failure in strategy and planning?

If you’d like help to avoid these pitfalls and give your strategy and planning process the best chance of success, reach out for a conversation.