The purpose of strategic planning is to trigger behavior changes. Hence it is important for the team members to be able to understand, be inspired, remember, and execute on what need to be changed. There are three main reasons why strategic plans do not work.
・Complacency: If business-as-usual is good enough, then the team is unwilling to change.
・Complexification: A common mistake is to complicate the strategic plan much more than necessary due to lack of practical experiences on achieving real business strategies. Hence most teams are unaware of the logic behind the words, the criteria of the deliverables, and the consequence of success or failure.
・Competence-gaps: A good strategic plan is only a few pieces of paper. It takes capable peoples to execute. Unfortunately, many organizations will invest money to develop the paper, but not the people. Without the tools and best practices, the team is unable to execute.
For a billion dollar business, probably two days are enough for a practical strategic planning exercise. In the First Day, the leadership team works out the critical few breakthrough goals, through the processes such as Graphical History, SPOT Analysis, Cover Story, and Bold Steps Vision. In the Second Day, which may be sometimes later, a smaller leadership team fine tunes the quantitative targets and ownerships over the planning horizons. Data related to the breakthrough goals are collected, between the First Day and the Second Day, so that the targets can be set in the range which is stretching enough to maximize the opportunities but realistic enough as compared to the market trends.