Strategic planning is one of those tried and true business tactics that fails almost three out of every four times it’s attempted—but that doesn’t mean corporate leaders shouldn’t keep trying, said Michael Canic, author and president of Making Strategy Happen.
In his general session presentation at the NSCA virtual Business & Leadership Conference today, Canic said “the execution is the hard part” when it comes to strategic planning. In fact, he said, about $3 trillion are invested in IT-related initiatives around the world that end up failing.
To ensure a better chance of success in your strategic planning, said Canic, business leaders must have enough training, resources and authority to implement the changes they hope to make after hearing about them at a conference such as BLC.
“Everything has to be aligned with the change you want to make,” he said. “What matters more than anything you do is everything you do. The relentless alignment of intentions, decisions and actions is what we need for our strategic plans to be successful.”
There are five keys to sustaining focus when it comes to executing on a strategic plan, said Canic. Start by creating a case for change and then make sure you do less with more. That means trimming the priorities that aren’t most important from your list and focusing only on the top handful, he said.
The next key is dreaming big but also being aware of the risks, rewards and requirements of making the desired strategic change. From there, connect the dots and keep shining the spotlight on the strategic change you’re proposing.
More About Strategic Planning Success
Business leaders must create what Canic calls “want-in” rather than simple “buy-in.” That comes through aligning your hearts and heads, equipping employees to succeed and coaching them through feedback and guidance on how to do their jobs better.
To improve the chances of strategic success, you need employees who have the right skills, experience and traits, said Canic.
“You should compete for talent as fiercely as you compete for customers,” he said. “You want to try to create a positive emotional connection.” That comes, said Canic, from having the right focus, building the right environment and hiring the right team.
“The first step in all of this is having a good honest talk in the mirror,” he said. “Don’t try to be perfect overnight. Look for good, incremental improvements. If you struggle with complacency, set an inspiring next goal.”
This article originally appeared on our sister publication Commercial Integrator‘s website.