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Friday, November 10, 2006

Lessons Learned About Planning

The Harvard Business Review reported in January 2006 that only 11% of executives are highly satisfied that strategic planning is worth the effort.

Blogger Rick Van Ness offers his observations:

  • Most executives look forward to the planning process as an opportunity to look at their business from a fresh perspective
  • These same executives can't wait for the process to be finished so that they can go back to meaningful work
  • Too many planning processes are too complex
  • It is difficult to find the key issues and decisions in multi-page plans
  • Plans that are developed for funding are rarely used to run the company
  • Too many of the plans are ceremonial
  • Most executives are appalled at the ability of their key manager's ability to think strategically.
  • Writing is difficult for most people. It is much easier to talk about a plan than to write one.
  • Almost all executives and managers have plans .. not all of them are in writing.
  • Finding a company where written plans exist, it is rare to find direct linkage between the plans, budgets and executive incentive compensation.
  • Lots of companies have scorecards... unfortunately by tracking everything, they don't focus on the key performance indicators that are critical.

BOTTOMLINE: Plans are worth nothing if they're not actively used and communicated.
Make the plan important all year long by reviewing the performance and progress against the plan as a part of your weekly individual plann meetings, and monthly management team meetings.

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