Companies are always seeking new and more effective ways to achieve and sustain the success they desire for their organization. Strategic planning can be a powerful tool to achieve this goal. When done right, it can drive business, increase profits and fuel long-term growth for a company.

Before embarking on a strategic planning session for your company or organization, it is good to be aware of the possible pitfalls of this crucial undertaking so as to avoid them. Below are some of the potential snares that can derail your strategic planning process.

Adopting a Strategy That Is Too Broad

In order for a strategic plan to be effective, it has to have a sharp focus and clear objectives. A mission and vision statement is a crucial aspect of strategic planning since it sets the fundamental direction and goals for the company. If it includes everything under the sun, it cannot provide a proper framework for the efficient allocation of resources, nor guide the business initiatives of the company.

A strategic plan must clearly define what a company needs to do in order to achieve its goals and fulfill its mission. In order to do this, it needs to be clear, focused and unambiguous in its language and tone.

Unclear Business and Communication Goals

For a strategic planning session to be an agent of change and growth in a company, it needs to adopt concrete steps of implementation. Every participant has to be clear on his or her role in effectively communicating and implementing the action steps agreed upon during the planning session. Absent this aspect, strategic planning is just an expensive pep rally – a lot of rousing talk, feel-good speeches and inspiring cheers, but no real-world connection or relevance.

Vague Action Steps

It can be easy to mistake smart-sounding sound bites for clear action steps: a satisfied customer is our top priority; we will build a business based on cooperation not competition; we will be agents of honest change and growth in the industry.

These are certainly worthwhile goals to pursue, but they are not concrete action steps. Your strategic planning needs to include clear and precise steps that participants can do throughout the business day. Thus, the vague “a satisfied customer is our top priority” can be framed as “follow up on all customer comments within 24 hours.” An effective strategic plan needs to include measurable and implementable steps.

Sometimes, you need a professional facilitator in order to ensure the success of your strategic planning sessions. Without an experienced and well-trained process facilitator, it is easy for strategic planning to suffer the common pitfalls described above. Contact us here at FindaFacilitator and discover how our expert group facilitators can assist you in your strategic planning and other corporate facilitation requirements.