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It’s a paper weight – No!
It’s a door stop– No!
It’s a dust collector on my book shelf – No!
What is it? It’s your Strategic Plan.

If you’ve ever attended a Strategic Planning session you can identify with the above. The thought of Strategic Planning sends chills down the spine of many executives and board members who cringe at the thought of engaging in this annual ritual of “Write It Down and Put It Away.” Normally, the only time the plan is opened is when we’re about to have our annual session and we want to at least make sure we change some of language.
Contrary to popular belief and conventional wisdom, planning is not the problem. Think of it this way: if you join the gym and hire a personal trainer who gives you a workout routine, but you don’t work out, is it the gym or trainer’s fault when you don’t lose weight? Of course not – they gave you access to the tools but YOU still have to use them.

A strategic plan is a tool, and like any other tool if you leave it on the shelf it won’t do you any good. The plan is only as good as the execution. We’ve developed a formula that we believe you’ll appreciate: P-E = WoT (Planning – Execution = Waste of Time).

Here are two major challenges…

1. Lack of Input
Far too often the only people involved in the strategic planning session are the board members. Engage a variety of stakeholders in your planning efforts. The Strategic Plan is not the time for the board to relish in their authority and sneak away for an exclusive weekend of “Us planning for Them.” Without the proper input, the plan is useless.

2. Lack of Ownership
If stakeholders don’t have input, then they also can’t claim ownership. Think about – when was the last time you washed a rental car? That’s right, you haven’t. Why? Because you didn’t own it. You can’t expect people to care for, adhere to, and put their dedication and effort into something they don’t own.

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