How much value is there in planning – a note to the unbelievers

Many people don’t believe in planning. They just don’t see value in the exercise. Before you go any further, I’d ask you to rate where on this continuum your company and your team might be at:

1 – Thinks planning is a waste of time, doesn’t undertake in any way
2 – Engages planning to keep regulators off your back, not seen as a meaningful
3 – Completes an annual plan, has some accountability a few times per year associated with the content
4 – Completes an annual plan, conducts regular strategy review meetings
5 – The strategy is ingrained in every employee, they see it as meaningful, people spend time regularly at all levels of the company reviewing their performance against the strategy

There is no such thing as an organization who is really successful that isn’t good at strategy development and execution. The need for this work increases exponentiall, proportional to the number of people involved. This being said, many small to mid sized companies still don’t see the value. This is what I’d like to explore in this entry.

Our beliefs flow from our experiences. Many people have gotten by without planning effectively and see this as evidence that it’s not required. Many people have planned by didn’t see any tangible changes they could attribute to the work they invested. The biggest reason why strategies and plans fail is not the quality of the plan, the facilitator, or the layout of the business plan. The single greatest reason is the lack of management proficiency in the areas of accountability to strategy at every level of the company and the practice of regularly coming back to the plan to maintain focus.

In today’s era, most businesses have set accountability at the executive level for business plan content, to some degree at the senior manager level, but rarely does this flow through the rest of the company in a meaningful way. If companies will close this gap, we will begin to see employees understand how their jobs connect and greater synergies will occur.

Quite simply, if you can get everyone supporting the same strategy, you’ll be more likely to complete it successfully.