6 Reasons Why Most Strategic Plans Fail (PART 1)

Dr. Angela M. Shuttlesworth
3 min readDec 8, 2017

Strategic planning is a beautiful gift that is here to help us progress through the process of manifesting our great ideas — which originally came in the form of a mission and vision-someone’s passion or need. However, even in our process of over-planning we often times miss the mark and the process doesn’t give us all of the magic that it has the potential to provide. Today, let’s discuss why most strategic plans don’t reach their potential, thus failing those who need it most. And of course in this discussion we will identify ways for you to be successful, as you and your team deserve to experience what’s on the other side of a well executed plan.

Also, failure can be informative so as you read this please choose to be empowered opposed to deflated, as we need you to continue leading your team with a spirit of possibility, expectancy and clarity. With that… let’s dive in.

Consider these as the secret sauce to an awesome strategic plan(ning process):

#1 Connect Your Plan to A BIG Why: There is a difference between information that you have to know, and data that you want to know. Identify if mandate or passion have the drivers seat to your process. Both are necessary for your vehicle to move; however, connection to your ultimate cause wins every time.

#2 Relax, Relate & Release: The energy surrounding your process will set the standard for how it attracts participation and fosters loyalty which will ensure it’s ultimate success. In addition, minimizing anxiety, and making it a supportive, reciprocal process will keep your team and contributors engaged.

#3 Intend to Accept It All: As you consider what is measured view findings that reveals success and failure as equally beneficial. Doing so will provide a true assessment that is insightful for generations to come. *Some teams intentionally set goals that they know they can meet or only give in depth attention to projects and programs that are historically successful. Don’t.

#4 Gain Necessary Buy In: Acknowledge that internal and external contributors aren’t always viewed as equal to this process. In these instances consider providing rewards for participation, with the understanding that they should vary. Opposed to expecting late hours for dedicated team members during reporting time(s) consider comp time or a gift card to a spa ( that’s what I would want, smile). Similarly, for clients and contractors who participate consider extra time for certain deliverables (given time and energy dedicated to your effort), or similar financial based compensation.

#5 Use a Mixed Methods Approach: Gone are the days where we are utilizing KPIs that solely measure numerical inputs and outputs. We must define quality, which includes definitions that stem from the human experience. This requires extra resources for focus groups, qualitative analysis and multi-layered interpretation of findings to confirm that your recommendations are factual versus perceived.

#6 Have Freedom for Exploration: Generally time constraints or a desire to meet targets are the driving force for strategic planning processes. This can disempower your team. Allow time and space to inquire once additional questions arise once they are identified opposed to saying, “we will get to that later.” A LOT of missed opportunities happen as a result of being too stringent.

So, how does your team measure up so far? As noted above this is Part 1 of a necessary conversation.

Noting that strategic plans are fluid and concrete at the same time know that we will have some fun discussing how to get the best use of your plan and your findings. So please, comment below or inbox me to let me know how this is confirming what’s needed in your agency. As always, we are here to offer support so feel free to contact us by clicking here as well.

Peace, Love and HEALTHY Leadership to You,

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on December 8, 2017.



Dr. Angela M. Shuttlesworth

Founder of Be.Lead.Grow. Known as “The Corporate Healer” she teaches organizations how to transition from being toxic to H.E.A.L.T.H.Y. #LeadershipJewels