Debunking the Myths of Strategic Planning

“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do,” says Michael Porter. 

Strategic planning is important for any business. But, very often, the businesses focus on defining what to do and what is important for success. But, in reality, the most viable decision in strategic planning is deciding what not do.

In a great organization or an association, there is never a shortfall for strategies. The business strategists involved in formulating the right strategies always keep updating and expanding them. But strategic planning requires those ideas to abandon a strategy or rank a strategy among the set of strategies. It is nothing but knowing how to decide to keep certain initiatives at the back burner.

Napoleon Bonaparte, one of the history’s greatest strategic thinker says: “In order to concentrate superior strength in one place, the economy of force must be exercised in other places.”

During strategic planning, companies often get entangled with planning myths and tend to believe it as true. Myths are subtler traps that make wise people believe in half-plausible truth and hampers the company’s progress.

Let us understand how a strategic leadership functionality debunks the myths in its earliest stage and succeed in pushing the company ahead of the competition.

Myths and realities of strategy planning

Let us know some of the myths and realities of strategic planning.

Myth #1: Strategy is long-term

Reality: Thinking strategy as a long-term commitment will blind you. There is a need to make changes often. It is all about the sources of value creation, the drivers, and the basis of competition. Depth is necessary while strategizing a plan and how it can shape the future of the business to our advantage matters the most.

Myth #2: You should change strategy often to bring disruption

Reality: It is necessary to draw the line between strategy and innovation. The strategic direction remains the same for decades, but innovation changes. Cutting down the price of a product while adding capacity is a strategy followed for years by a successful company. Innovation forms the radical version of the existing strategy.

Myth #3: A good strategy always leads to success

Reality: Having a good strategy is one of the keys to success. Best strategies won’t fetch successful results always. Strategic leadership is critical to fix a weak strategy and implement a good strategy.

Myth #4: It’s better to focus on the positive and not always look at what is not working

Reality: One should be honest about what is working and what is not working. You cannot fix the one which you did not understand. It is necessary to focus on the negative, recognize why it is not working and fix them at its place.

Myth #5: Productivity is the goal

Reality: Productivity refers to getting things done whereas strategic thinking refers to getting the right things done right. Without a strategy, productivity is meaningless.

In a nutshell, strategic leadership is not a problem to solve or a thought to experiment. Strategic thoughts must result in actions and yield desired results.

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  • Nice article - I very much agree with the sentiments.   To have the best chances of a strategy becoming reality, it's important that there is a clear focus on execution and in particular for risk management (which is not risk aversion) to be embedded.