Strategic Planning Bottlenecks: Part Two

Last week I revealed the first two bottlenecks that are roadblocks to creating a kick-butt strategic plan. Discover the remaining three bottlenecks described in today’s blog post.

BOTTLENECK 3: No strategies in the strategic plan

It seems ironic that a strategic plan would not have any strategies in it, but if you read a few dozen strategic plans, you’ll quickly find that a defined strategy is as hard to find as thermal underwear in Hawaii. I’ve reviewed strategic plans for hundreds of banks, and most of those plans have been completely devoid of any real strategies.

The strategy is the “how”: how you plan to deploy your resources to create the results you want. Without the strategy, the chances of creating that result are based mostly on luck. And if the desired results are achieved, they’re accomplished with a much greater level of effort than is actually necessary.

BOTTLENECK 4: No list of obstacles for each strategy, and no breakthrough plans for each obstacle

If you don’t create strategies to overcome every one of the obstacles, you probably won’t break through them—and if you do, it will take you longer because you’ll need to regroup as you hit each one.

BOTTLENECK 5: No clear structure or implementation deadlines

Which people are best-suited to handle the various aspects of the process? When should the baton be passed? Where are the checkpoints? Who is the overall project manager for the initiative? How will that manager report status, and to whom? These are just a few of the details that, when thought out and articulated, will make a project flow with greater ease. (Warning: You’ll need to get your drama dose from watching soap operas; there won’t be too many surprises at the office anymore.)

Ideas are great, but I’ll bet on the team that can execute the best.

These are just a few of the often-ignored, but critically important, elements of a successful plan. If you want dramatically better results, then dramatically improve the strategy in your plan.

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