Common Mistakes to Avoid in Your Strategic Planning Process

Planning and Drawing

Do you scratch your head in team meetings when you see that a perfect seeming strategic plan is not working?

If it happens, then you are not alone. About 67% of the strategic plans fail to bring the desired results. 

Strategy failure becomes a killing problem for startups because they face the pressure to drive rapid business growth, and repeated strategy execution failure can lead to business failure.

A successful plan is designed and executed well. You don’t create an impactful plan in the first go or by chance; you have to experiment and not repeat the same mistakes. 

Strategic planning in an organization

Let’s see what mistakes you should not make while planning strategies at your organization.

Ten mistakes you should avoid while planning strategies for your business

You must enable everyone at the company to develop a work culture where the employees can optimize the strategies and not lose sight of the business vision and goals.


1. Not defining and communicating the business values and goals to everyone

A strategic planning process is flawed if the leaders have not even developed or communicated clearly defined business goals.

Goals are an indispensable part of a team working together. You cannot start any work without knowing what the desired outcomes are.

Hold a simple team meeting of the senior leaders to jot down the business values, vision, and company’s yearly or long-term goals.

Include these values in the employee onboarding process so that new team members get clarity of their responsibilities from day one of joining.

A highly effective way to align team members with the goals is by OKRs (Objectives and key results). OKRs can be easily managed and seen by everyone with OKR software.


2.  Having too many goals

Goals and objectives are meant to make the team focus, and when there are too many of them, they cannot track the associated progress.

Fewer and more clearly defined goals are easier to manage and more likely to be achieved.


3. Not having measurable outcomes

Many companies make the mistake of assigning ambitious goals and not making them trackable using metrics. 

When the team members can measure their or the organization’s progress using a simple rating, they can relate to their job more and are more likely to achieve them.

Managing goals is easier today; team leaders can easily track performance with transparent OKR management software.


4. Ignoring the detailed knowledge of problems

Most people blame the strategy when they cannot achieve the desired outcomes but often don’t fully understand the issues and try to jump straight to changing the strategy.

Strategic plans often require minor refinements to make them more effective in solving specific problems. However, changing the whole strategy or making significant modifications can be wrong.


5. Not understanding the pressure of usual operations on the employees

In most organizations, employees already have a lot of operational work on their plates. It’s a challenge for the employees to schedule some time for the strategy discussion.

Leaders must consider this aspect of the organization when asking the team to get involved in strategic planning. They can take some workload off the team members so that they give their total concentration to the meeting.


6. Not connecting performance management with organizational goals

How will the employees know that their work matters and is helping in growing the business?

Organizational goals are not just for the top leaders. Ensure that you align the employees’ job responsibilities with the right set of OKRs. This system also promotes fair employee recognition because all the goals and OKRs are open for everyone to see.


7. Not knowing the organization’s capabilities.

Many organizations don’t spend enough time developing strategies. Around 85% of executive-level leaders give less than an hour per month to engage in strategic planning.

The top-level leaders must know what their leaders are capable of doing and how much effort they put into the strategy-making process. Review the strategies and assign some learning time for the employees wherever needed.


8. Overlooking the knowledge about the customers

Many companies make strategies by following a standard template for the planning process. They assume and fail to understand many things, such as the buyer persona, customers’ feedback, user experience, customer-centric approach, etc.

It may feel like a small problem, but it is one of the key strategic points for almost all companies. It sounds cliche, but the customer is the king. You must make it one of the most significant organizational priorities to provide excellent value to your users.


9. Not optimizing the strategy with changing dynamics of the business.

Many teams fail to adapt to the changing business dynamics like the market, customer behavior, changes in management/leadership, fundraising, etc. You cannot achieve essential business goals by making and forgetting a strategic plan.

Ensure that everyone understands the organizational goals and enable them to tweak strategies according to their progress and goals. Have some fluidity in the planning with continuous performance management.


10. Not investing in leadership development

Many organizations operate in silos, and the team leaders are unaware of the inefficiencies in strategic planning. There are not enough challenges that the leaders face, and they don’t review their plans and performance on a timely basis.

You need to enable the leaders in the organization to develop impactful leadership abilities. This cannot happen by getting them enrolled in the training courses and lecturing but by assigning them challenging projects.

Want to ensure that the strategic planning includes all the essential organizational objectives and that your team aligns with the strategies? 


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1. What should you know before creating strategic plans at your company?

Effective strategic planning starts with complete information about the business, teams, and opportunities. Before outlining a detailed plan, let’s look at the list of things you need to know:

Organizational and team-level goals and objectives

  • How will you measure the plan’s success?
  • Who are the stakeholders, and what is their role?
  • Essentials business priorities
  • The time frame for the plan
  • Does the team have all the available resources and skill sets to meet the goals?


2. Can a hired consultant help in designing an effective strategic plan?

Organizational leaders know their businesses and teams well. However, they may still struggle to create better strategies for the company due to the lack of expertise in a specific industry or experience.

The strategic planning consultant will take time to understand the business, but an experienced consultant will enable the team to think and plan themselves.

They help the team members to discuss and approach the strategic planning process with a learning mindset.

So, invest in a consultant that enhances not just the planning process but also the ability of the employees and leaders to create effective strategies.


3. What is a vision statement? Why do you need it?

A company’s vision statement says what they intend to be in a few years ahead. A company’s employees need a vision for the following reasons:

  • It answers why the organization exists.
  • It helps in defining the purpose for everyone at the company.
  • It guides strategic planning and execution.
  • Employees consider it very important. It motivates them.
  • It enables the organization to focus on its customers. 
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Gaurav Sabharwal


Gaurav is the CEO of JOP (Joy of Performing), an OKR and high-performance enabling platform. With almost two decades of experience in building businesses, he knows what it takes to enable high performance within a team and engage them in the business. He supports organizations globally by becoming their growth partner and helping them build high-performing teams by tackling issues like lack of focus, unclear goals, unaligned teams, lack of funding, no continuous improvement framework, etc. He is a Certified OKR Coach and loves to share helpful resources and address common organizational challenges to help drive team performance. Read More

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