Barriers to Strategic Planning

Do you eliminate barriers to working strategically?
A. No. We do not.
B. We know where there are barriers, but have done little to eliminate them.
C. We identify some barriers and actions to eliminate them.
D. We monitor barriers and identify and implement actions to eliminate them.
E. We monitor existing and potential barriers to working strategically and identify and implement actions to eliminate them.
[Score:  A=0, B=1, C=2, D=3 and E=4]
Why is this question important?

Strategy is viewed as critical, yet scheduled as luxury.  The main impediments …

  • Operations, operations, operations …
  • Procrastination …
  • Belief that strategic planning and delineation is the main thing … it’s not … EXECUTION is …

Remember strategic planning is not about predicting the future.  It is appealing to allow a future planning exercise to end with an audacious prediction of what the future. Sometimes there is a real danger that because the prediction emerged from the ‘planning process’, we desperately want to believe in it.  Very little in business is ‘etched in stone’.   Let’s face it, by and large we are poor at predicting future events, yet we continue to try.


Mind-set Barriers

  • Mind-set and beliefs drive the attitudes that result in behaviours. Until the beliefs are identified, behaviours will not change.

Thought Barriers

  • Many people work on auto-pilot, they fall into a routine … scarcely ever considering how they can improve performance or outcomes.  People need to think proactively and look at their roles and responsibilities differently.

Core Values Barrier

  • The lack of meaningful shared core values within any business creates performance barriers. When a company has clearly articulated what their core values mean, achieving high performance becomes much easier.

People Development Barriers

  • In today’s world we are all conditioned to expect to do more with less time. This is only possible if appropriate training and development is continuously provided to up-skill people.

Goals / Actions Achievement Barriers

  • Goals / actions are a critical part of strategy implementation.
  • Individual goals / actions must be aligned with organisational goals / actions

Measurement Barriers

  • Here is where specific goals must be set, with precise deadlines, broken down by week, month, quarter, or however you choose, based on your specific relationship with your clients.
  • ‘What gets measured gets done,’ and here is where measurements must take place to ensure that work progresses efficiently.

Leadership Barriers

  • The single and most important condition for success is the ownership and involvement of the top team.
  • Strategy requires change from virtually every part of the organisation.
  • Strategy requires teamwork to coordinate these changes.
  • Mobilisation begins at the top – establish a sense of urgency, create the guiding ‘coalitions’ and develop a vision and strategy.

Policies & Procedures Barriers

  • Policies and processes must be customer-friendly, supplier-friendly and employee-friendly
  • Plans are designed to be work and not placed on a shelf or in a drawer to be taken out once a year.
  • All efforts must be consistently reviewed to determine alignment with the plan and to adjust for any necessary course corrections.

Communication Barriers

  • Managers cannot implement strategy on their own – yet research shows that less than 5% of employees understand their organisation’s strategy.   A business has no chance of success if employees don’t know and understand the strategy, and little chance of success if they do not embrace it.
  • You must take strategy from the boardroom to the backrooms and frontlines of daily operations and customer service.
  • Every employee is capable of finding improved ways of doing business that will contribute to achieving strategic objectives.

Thus, communication and involvement are the cornerstones to making strategy everyone’s everyday job.  Management and all employees must to enable to openly review, comment, feedback, keep updated on progress and obtain clarity on questions as they arise on every aspect of strategy delineation and execution.