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Strategic Planning: Plan well, go FAR

Strategic Planning: Plan well, go FAR

Mary SandQ. What pitfalls should I avoid when creating a strategic plan?
A. Once you’ve committed to a strategic planning session and have assembled the key stakeholders to engage in the process, there a few recommendations to keep the planning on track. Use the acronym FAR as a guide.  


A lack of focus can be disguised in many forms; examples include having too many goals and having ideas that are too big. Trying to accomplish too many goals leads to little progress on any of them. It’s the law of diminishing returns. There are always more ideas than time to complete them. Secondly, I’ve seen teams get so grandiose in their ideas that they set themselves up for failure. Not everyone is going to be the “world class leader” in their respective business.  

Don’t create a plan around ideas that you don’t have the appetite to accomplish. Many organizations struggle to give up what they are currently doing, yet they create a strategic plan that would require significant change in their organization. When it’s time to implement the plan, you discover that leadership isn’t committed to that degree of change. What sounded exciting during the planning, suddenly is beyond our hunger for change. It’s moving too much cheese for too many people!

Does the organization have the leadership, staff, services, products, budget, facilities, etc., to accomplish what is written in the strategic plan? If you lack sufficient resources and didn’t build into the plan how to acquire those resources, then you’ve set yourself up for failure. Instead, focus on how to capitalize on the resources that do exist. Shifting resources is more likely an option compared to adding resources, especially in these challenging times of workforce, supply chain and inflation.    
Be realistic and keep in mind focus, appetite and resources. By doing so, you will go far with your strategic plan!  

Mary Sand, PhD, is owner/president of Sand Consulting. Reach her at 605.212.9374 or [email protected]


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