Why organisations resist strategic planning

Why organisations resist strategic planning

The future is very uncertain because of the turbulence in the environment. To manage through this uncertainty leaders need to plan ahead. The process of planning can highlight certain issues that need to be taken care of or attended to by the business.
The process of planning will enable one to identify opportunities that can be exploited for the good of the business or threats that can threaten the survival of the business.
But as many organizations go through the planning and execution process, it’s not uncommon for leaders to face resistance from their teams or from the organization during this process.
Strategic planning brings with it change and this change can spark this resistance. Resistance to change is a challenge that every leader, regardless of industry or location, will face. We therefore need to deal with it if the organisation has to move into the future.

People or organisation will resist change because they feel the status quo is ok. Oftentimes, people are quite content with the way things are. They feel comfortable with the ways things are done and so they don’t see the value in the change, and why they should change.
As a leader this is the occasion to explain what your organization’s vision of success looks like and how achieving that vision will be beneficial to your organisation, to your team, customers, and other stakeholders. You need to show that the current status is not the best for your organisation.
Your team needs to understand that if they remain in the current status then they will be a victim of the competition. This explanation will inspire and motivate your team to plan ahead and come up with a plan that ensures success.
The change that comes with a new strategic plan can often represent a significant personal threat to someone. This personal threat will bring in unprecedented challenge and fear of change to your team.

You therefore need to communicate and assure your team that your strategic plan isn’t about sorting out personal vendettas or about pushing people out of your organization.
Your team needs to know that strategic planning is being used as a tool and roadmap to align your organisation’s resources and people towards achieving a common vision. It’s not about addressing personal issues.

Most people think that the work put in preparing a strategic plan is not worth it. There is too much work for too little return. It’s true that strategic planning results in a big project or a number of projects and sometimes the return will not be realised immediately.
It’s important that you make sure that your organization understands that strategy isn’t a one day affair.

It can take years to achieve what is required and only then can the organisation reap the benefits. It’s a marathon and not a sprint race. During this process teamwork is of utmost importance. Each person should understand how their contributions help drive the organization to achieve its long-term vision.
Sometimes people can be resistant to change because they don’t trust their leadership. Trust in leadership is only built if there is communication and clarity in what needs to be achieved and the reason why things have to be done the way they should.

It’s therefore important that during strategic planning, you, as a leader are being open and clear about how your leadership team came to each strategic decision or change and how it will impact the organization. You need to be transparent about everything you are doing.
Some people are reluctant to embrace strategic planning because they feel that change in itself doesn’t work. Business leaders need to explain more about strategic planning.
The teams should be told that strategic planning is all about defining your organisation’s desired future state and creating a roadmap to get there and to achieve this state needs that every person be an integral part of the roadmap and should be pushing in a unified direction toward that vision of success.

Strategic planning helps to achieve this goal by harnessing everyone’s effort towards one common vision.
A leader should use his inspirational skills to inspire the whole team. Everyone should know that the strategic planning process they are engaged in and the change that often accompanies it isn’t easy.

But the benefits to be reaped outweigh the effort put into it. The road to success needs you to stay dedicated and vigilant to the planning and execution process, only then will you reap the benefits.

l Stewart Jakarasi is a business and financial strategist and a lecturer in business strategy (ACCA P3), advanced performance management (P5) and entrepreneurship.

He is the Managing Consultant of Shekina Consulting (Pty) Ltd and provides advisory and guidance on leadership, strategy and execution, corporate governance, preparation of business plans and on how to build and sustain high-performing organisations.
For assistance in implementing some of the concepts discussed in these articles please contact him on the following contacts: sjakarasi@gmail.com, call on +266 58881062 or WhatsApp +266 62110062.

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