Strategic planning is essential for the success of an organization. If an organization is blossoming and it hopes to maintain its growth, then many strategies are required to guide program development and to brace itself for challenges ahead. Most organizations realize this and make it their objective to have regular strategic planning sessions. However, in other cases, the process of strategic planning is abused. The planning team embarks on the process with the wrong motives and under the illusion that it might solve the organization’s problems when, in most cases, it might not.
Misuses of Strategic Planning
One, strategic planning is not carried out in all seasons. There are periods when it is crucial to plan, but at other times, it might not be a bit necessary. For example, if your organization is running low on funds, by embarking on strategic planning, it will only be wasting valuable money, effort, and time. Besides, strategic planning may not resolve otherwise systemic problems.
Two, oblivious to many, strategic planning is not always the solution to many common problems in an organization. Such issues include unexpected deficits, squabbles in executive management, or even board disputes. In such crises, the solution may be in short-term planning or conflict resolution and not strategic planning.
Three, strategic planning should not be done in a day-long retreat or a single five-hour session. Though your organization may not require a plan that demands rigorous fact-finding, the process should at least demand more than one meeting. It should take time for the entrusted group to come up with information, put into consideration the relevant facts, and to chart a strategic direction that the organization should take finally.
Four, strategic planning is not the equivalent of holding a staff meeting to set the goals of an organization. Plan, when carried out well, should be the desired outcomes, which then set the ball rolling on new or amended practices and policies. Staff input may be crucial in the process, but on its own, it shouldn’t be expected to determine the strategic direction that the organization should take.
In conclusion, strategic planning should be carried out when it is most needed. There is no need for planning if there is little to no chance of the plan getting implemented. The success of a plan will require commitment from the stakeholders. Additionally, if the prospects of coming up with a sound plan are close to none, do not embark on strategic planning. This may occur when there is a strong personality who wants to use the process to install their agenda.