1. Lack of Disciplined Analysis:
All too often the analysis of the business both internally and externally are not given the attention needed. If this is the foundation for the next 12 months and the building blocks for the next 3years out it is not an area to take lightly. This is not the sexiest part of planning as you are dealing with the realities of your business, the competitors, your clients and the economy. But it is the most important. This will be the catalyst for any changes you undertake in the future. If you are planning for growth, succession or even maintaining the status quo, changes in your annual plan are required. The analysis is not a random act. Make sure you have a process, the resource and the discipline to get the job done right.
2. Looking for one solution:
The silver bullet that will rocket the business ahead is a myth. There will need to be several strategies that are built upon and fine-tuned from the proper analysis. In Howard Schultz’s book ‘Onward’ there were several well thought out strategies (not one) that helped pull Starbucks out of a turbulent business spiral to a place of profitability and stability. It should also be noted that even though there were a dozen strategies and no one strategy could have been credited for the corporate recovery job on its own, a couple of the strategies were abandoned. It seemed that they would work in the boardroom but the practical application failed. And because there was more than one idea on the table, they were able to recognize this and exit the ineffective strategy quickly without blindly pinning all their hopes on one solution.
3. Too Many Focus Areas at one time:
Really this is the crippling problem of poor plan execution. Time and time again, the execution gap as been identified as the culprit for business mediocrity. The execution gap always comes back to the focus of the organization and its leader. Although multiple solutions are needed for long-term success, to focus on any more than three of these at one time, is asking for failure. Selecting the execution priority from your strategy inventory is critical for focused execution. “The fact is that having 15 priorities is the same as having none at all.” (Robert Kaplan, HBR, January 2007)