What C-suite executive doesn’t love the words ‘strategic’ and ‘planning’? After all, strategic implies an outlet for you to apply your business acumen and carefully honed skills, and planning gives you a sense of control over future outcomes. It’s no wonder ‘strategic planning’ has become such a predominant buzzword across all industries.
Unfortunately, as strategic planning continues to become an increasingly mainstream topic, some common myths and misconceptions have taken root in the business community – and are holding many businesses back.
Myth: Strategic Planning Is More About Planning Than Strategy
Strategic planning is a systematic tool for forecasting where your organization is headed and how it will get there – but it doesn’t deal in certainty. The reality is that exponential growth exists on the other side of uncertainty and not in the reorganization of current facts or circumstances.
Therefore, a strategic plan focuses on successfully navigating the unknown, taking certain risks and making difficult decisions. All too often, however, it turns out to be a plan that leaves little room for unpredictable variable and is designed to minimize the discomfort of the unknown by crafting a sense of control. Instead of empowering leaders to look into the future through the eyes of a strategic visionary, this problem-solving approach to strategic planning often limits business leaders with tunnel vision.
Remember, your strategic plan isn’t about eliminating risk in the upcoming years – but about maximizing your chances of success.
Myth: Cost Planning Strategies Should Guide Revenue Planning
As many executives try to build certainty into their strategic plans, they often implement cost planning methodologies for their revenue forecasting/planning processes. It’s quite tempting to do because costs are something we can control, whereas revenue is dependent on your customers’ purchase behaviours.
The reality is that revenue planning is fundamentally unpredictable. Many executives will painstakingly craft revenue plans based on historical data (such as salesperson, product, and regional outputs), and then wonder “what went wrong” when the real numbers don’t line up.
By accepting that costing plans won’t magically increase revenue, you can redirect some of that energy towards the real job of a strategic plan: identifying ways to acquire new customers and maintain your current client base.
Myth: A Strategic Plan Should Focus on Core Competencies
It’s true that a successful company must clearly understand its core competencies and deliver those products or services successfully. However, that’s simply the foundation on which you’ll build your ‘value proposition.’
The reality is that your customers don’t buy your product or service – they purchase the promise behind it (the promise to solve a problem, to perform better, to cost less, etc.). So, strategic planning should focus more on ‘who’ you will target and ‘how’ to compel them to buy, instead of ‘what’ you’re trying to sell them.
Take the Next Step with Your Strategic Planning – With FocalPoint Canada
The Certified Business Coaches at FocalPoint Canada have helped countless clients navigate the strategic planning process – crafting vision-focused plans that improve customer satisfaction, increase market share and drive more profitable futures. We guide our clients in overcoming challenges and leveraging opportunities with proven processes and methodologies that have been used by thousands of successful businesses over the past two decades.
It all starts with a conversation. Call us at 866-761-1616 or email firstname.lastname@example.org