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  • Iwona Wilson

Leadership and Strategic Planning: Why Leaders Must Be Involved?

Strategy planning is an ongoing process of defining organizational direction, long-term goals, creating specific plans, implementing those plans, and evaluating results.

It involves a series of steps that enables an organization to define its vision, mission, and values, assess its current situation, identify opportunities and threats, and create a plan for achieving its objectives.

Despite its importance, why so many organizations fail to recognize strategic planning's value?

Here are some eye-opening statistics:

Did you know that 85% of leadership teams spend less than one hour per month on strategy, and 50% spend no time at all on strategy? (Harvard Business Review, 2005).
Some experts say that the vast majority of companies are failing to strategize at all.
61% of executives say they weren’t prepared for strategic challenges upon appointment to senior leadership roles. These leaders fail because they lack depth in their competitive context. Their focus is on internal issues: resolving conflicts, reconciling budgets, managing performance. Consequently, they pay less attention to external strategic issues like competitor moves, customer needs, or technology trends. (HBR)

Would you be able to describe your organization's strategy?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Maybe

They often view it as a time-consuming and costly process that distracts them from their day-to-day activities. However, the truth is that strategic planning is crucial for any organization's survival and growth, and involving leaders in the process is essential.

Benefits of strategic planning

Strategic planning has numerous benefits for organizations, including:

1. Clear Direction. A strategic plan provides clear direction for the organization, defining its vision, mission, and values, and setting specific goals and objectives. This clarity of purpose helps employees focus on what matters most.

“Only 22% of employees feel that leaders have a clear direction for the organization". (Gallup 2022)

2. Decision making. A strategic plan provides a framework for making decisions that align with organization objectives. It helps leaders prioritize initiatives and the right kind of projects and allocate resources effectively.

Are you measuring how well your projects fit your business objectives?

3. Enhanced communication. A strategic plan helps leaders communicate their vision, goals, and objectives to employees, stakeholders, and customers. This communication fosters a shared understanding of the organization's priorities, leading to increased collaboration and engagement.

These ones are shocking:

Only 5% of employees know and/or understand their company’s strategy." (Harvard Business Review, 2005)
Only 40% of employees strongly feel their manager understands their organization’s strategy or goals. (Accenture)
67% of employees do not understand their role when the growth initiatives are launched. (Gartner).

4. Feedback how everyone is going. The process promotes the open and creative exchange of ideas, including resolving disputes and working out inclusive solutions.

5. Employees re-engagement. Strategy planning workshops when facilitated well can help employees re-engage with priorities and purpose.

Employee's disengagement is skyrocketing. Still about 70% of employees are disengaged. (Gallup).

Understanding Strategic Planning vs. Business Planning:

While strategic planning and business planning share similar goals, they differ in focus and scope.

A strategic plan outlines the overall direction, goals, and objectives of your organization, typically covering a longer time frame. It requires a deep analysis of internal and external factors, understanding market dynamics, group dynamics and evaluating competitive landscapes.

Business planning, on the other hand, zooms in on operational details and involve implementing the plan, allocating the resources, monitoring the progress, such as financial projections, marketing strategies, and day-to-day activities.

Strategic planning provides the strategic framework within which business planning can take place, ensuring that short-term actions align with long-term objectives

Effective leaders recognize that both strategy development and execution are vital and must be given equal attention to achieve desired outcomes.

Myths About Strategic Planning

Despite its benefits, strategic planning myths hinder its adoption.

Some of these myths include:

1. Strategic Planning is an exclusive one-off event for the few by the few.

Not true. Strategic planning to work effectively requires people from all parts of the business sharing different ideas and perspectives. It must be owned by all leaders and the push can be from the top, from the bottom and across the company.

2. Strategic Planning is time-consuming.

While developing a strategic plan takes time and effort, the benefits outweigh the costs. Moreover, a well-crafted plan can save time and resources in the long run. You can contact us and request an agenda for a 1 day or 2 day strategic planning workshop.

3. Strategic Planning is costly.

Many organizations view strategic planning as an expensive process that requires outside consultants. However, with the right approach, organizations can develop a strategic plan with minimal costs and additional benefits such as: clarity of goals and objectives, alignment, reengaged staff, rejuvenated staff, prioritized initiatives etc.; so it’s never just about the plan.

4. Strategic Planning is a one-time activity.

Strategic planning is not a one-time event at the start of the year; it's an ongoing process that requires regular review and adjustment. Organizations that view it as a one-time activity often fail to achieve their long-term goals.

How Leaders Can Get Involved

To get involved in the planning process, leaders can:

1. Set the tone.

Leaders must create a culture that values strategic planning and encourages employee involvement. By setting the tone, they can foster a collaborative environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas.

2. Define the vision.

Leaders must be fully involved in the organization's vision, mission, and values definition. They kick off this process by communicating clearly the end goals and expectations and then ensuring everyone is onboard.

3. Set goals and objectives.

Leaders must ensure specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives and objectives are set. This will help the organization focus its resources on the most critical initiatives and achieve its long-term goals.

How a facilitator can help

A facilitator can help organizations develop their strategic plan by guiding them through the planning process.

A facilitator brings a neutral perspective, facilitates discussions, encourages participation from all stakeholders, and helps resolve conflicts.

They ensure that the planning process remains focused, objective, and inclusive.

By leveraging facilitator expertise, leaders can create an environment that encourages open communication, creativity, and collaboration among team members.

A facilitator can also help organizations avoid common pitfalls, such as groupthink and analysis paralysis. This will ensure that everyone's ideas are heard and considered.

Watch this short video to learn how facilitated strategic planning can help you. Contact us now for a free 1h no obligation discovery call.

What’s one tangible change you can make now to reach your strategic goals?

Take control of your next strategic planning workshop with Wilson Biz Consulting.

Book a call now for 1h free no obligation discovery call.

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