Common Barriers to Leveling Up Strategic Planning
May 23, 2024
Common Barriers to Leveling Up Strategic Planning

Bonus edition! Welcome to the 24th edition of The Pulse, your bi-weekly newsletter of Insights for Strategy Leaders. And welcome to all of the new subscribers since last edition!

In this edition:

  • 💥 4 Reasons Leaders Hesitate to Improve Strategic Planning Processes
  • 🔦 Seismic Customer Spotlight + Video
  • 🔄 ICYMI: Upcoming Webinar & New Resource

4 Reasons Leaders Hesitate to Improve Strategic Planning Processes

Over the course of Elate, I’ve had the opportunity to chat with hundreds - perhaps thousands of Strategy and Operations Leaders. What’s strikingly common among most is that they’re all quick to share that their company’s strategic planning process could be improved.

Another commonality? They’re all very hesitant in doing so. And I get it - it can be a big undertaking.

When I think about the barriers to why, I can group them in about four buckets.

And let me be clear - all of these are valid reasons to a degree. But the point here is that continuing to kick the can down the road is only hurting your organization in the short and long run.

1. Waiting for the "right time" ⏰

This is a very common reason and understandably so. There is no good time for this. But here's the thing: if you keep putting off revamping your strategic planning process, chances are, you'll find yourself in the same spot next quarter or next year.

Many times, organizations feel like the next planning cycle is the right time, but it’s actually the opposite. Trying to change your strategic planning process while doing strategic planning just doesn’t work, and you’re too far down the path to make any meaningful change. It’s not something that can be done overnight, and it takes time and focus. But the benefits greatly outweigh the effort.

2. Too many priorities at the leadership level 📥

I think we can all agree that every executive we know already has enough on their plate, so who can blame them for not wanting another thing to do?

But it’s our responsibility as Strategy and Operations leaders to build the case as to why this is the priority and show them how leveling up our strategic planning will help them and their teams actually hit those goals. 🎯

If we automate our reporting and tracking down updates, what will that free up? If we have more effective weekly meetings where we are looking forward instead of sharing updates on things that have happened, how much more can we unlock for our teams?

If the process is working today, then great. But again, it’s whether the status quo will yield different results in the long run.

3. Data integrity concerns ⚠️

Another common barrier to leveling up the strategic planning process is wanting to get all of the company’s data vetted and cleaned up.

We all track hundreds of metrics and KPIs across the business, but what leaders really need to move their strategic planning process and visibility forward is a focus on fundamental, yet vital metrics deemed essential to the business. These metrics often include revenue targets, opportunities, and customer data. 📊

For most companies, if these metrics can't be tracked today and there's hesitancy about putting them on a scorecard, it might indicate a broader transparency or accountability issue.

"What gets measured matters." If the goal is to increase revenue by a certain percentage this year, then revenue becomes the metric of utmost importance.

Data hygiene is a continuous journey, not a final destination. 🗺️ Even after polishing up your data, there will always be new features to track, additional SKUs to add, and more custom objects to incorporate into your CRM.

Your data will never achieve perfection, but that shouldn't be an excuse to delay fundamental improvements in your strategic planning processes.

4. Behavior change is daunting 🤔

Let’s be frank… driving behavior change within any organization is a formidable task. Most leadership teams, and teams in general, are hesitant to introduce yet another process or software solution into their daily operations. Understandably so.

While the feeling of software fatigue and the complexity of implementing change management are valid concerns, are they sufficient reasons to maintain the broken processes in place?

For many organizations, issues like lack of visibility, alignment, and a unified view that empowers team members to understand how their individual work contributes to the overall strategy are real obstacles.

So, rather than letting the fear of driving behavior change impede your team’s strategic planning process, view it as an opportunity to convey how this process will empower all leaders and their teams to execute their goals more effectively

Thoughts to leave you with...

In the realm of strategic planning, inertia is the enemy of progress.

By procrastinating change, Strategy and Operations Leaders risk perpetuating the same cycle of inefficiency and missed opportunities.

So, embrace the challenge of driving behavior change, armed with the knowledge that each step forward brings you closer to a future defined by strategic clarity, alignment, and achievement.

✨ Navigating Success: Seismic’s Journey to Strategic Excellence

For those interested in learning how we partner with organizations to help bring their strategies to life, check out our most recent customer story with Seismic , the leading sales enablement platform.

We also have a video (above) with Margie Eggen, PMP®, Chief of Staff at Seismic.

She talks through how Elate has helped in her self-described role of "helicopter patrol" 🚁 and how Elate has helped Seismic bring their most important strategic priorities to life.

Thank you Margie and Seismic for letting us share your story! 💙

📆 Upcoming Webinar - May 30th

Just a friendly reminder to those interested - In 3 weeks I'll be co-hosting a webinar with Dave Fechtman, CEO of Velocity Advisory Group, on simplifying strategic planning for success.

The initial response has been pretty incredible, so it should be a good one.

Click here to learn more and reserve your spot. And if you can't make it, we'll send the recording after.

📚 Guide to Building a Successful Operating Cadence

Last week I shared a new resource our team put together about how to ensure you have the right operating cadence that supports your strategy for the long haul.

Click here to grab a copy or learn more about. Or just shoot me a reply and I'll send it over.

Alright, that's all for today... Have a great rest of your week.

- Brooks

A few resources you might be interested in: