First, we want to prepare you for what is yet to come. We send FAQs and supporting information partly because there is a lot of noise around strategy formation. Strategic planning is abstract and deals with uncertainty, which can make people uncomfortable. We are asking you to clear your mind of any predispositions of what strategic planning will be.

We are not here to evaluate people. Our only interest is facilitating an effective strategy process so your company can be more successful, and you can invest in people, technology, and tools that will improve your business, and your life.

Here are common barriers we must overcome in this process:

  • Halo Effect: Teams feeling too good about themselves even if the business isn’t performing. An example would be a business growing 4-5% in an industry that is growing at 6%.
  • Confirmation Bias: People seeking information to confirm tightly held beliefs. Bias becomes limiting when we stop listening to other points of view.
  • Champion Bias: Because of our strong past results, we could be overly confident about executing a project that warrants investment beyond our current resources.
  • Risk Aversion: An unwillingness to innovate or test alternative strategies. It is a management team’s responsibility to challenge and vet ideas. Opposing ideas because their outcome is unknown restricts creativity. There is risk in not taking any risk.
  • Short-Term Thinking: You can’t predict the future, but you can evaluate facts already in evidence today to better understand trends that may turn into threats or opportunities. We have seen executives who think in quarters or a single year get caught in a trap; they are unable to react fast enough to sweeping industry change.
  • Fear of Uncertainty: Some people believe that because they can’t see the future, there is no value in talking about it. By studying trends, we improve the probability of prospering in an uncertain future.
  • Sandbagging: Some executives do not want to reach in terms of goal setting because they believe their compensation could be affected. We do not focus directly on compensation in strategic planning; we focus on strategies and goals that extend beyond the aspirations of a budget or incentive plan.
  • A need for absolute precision: Unfortunately, strategy is not perfect. Some ideas don’t fit seamlessly in a box like cells in a spreadsheet. Sometimes you have to make educated guesses based on the best information available. Again, there is risk in not taking any risk.