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Avoiding Planning Pitfalls (Part 1) outlined two planning pitfalls and realities.

Here are three more.

Pitfall:  We had a strategic plan once, but then didn’t know what to do with it.

Some planning processes end with identifying several broad strategic directions and have no implementation specifics.

Reality:  A plan isn’t complete until implementation steps, timelines, budget implications and champions are identified.

Create measurable outcomes supported by detailed action steps set in a timeline.  Identify budget increases required for implementation as well as champions who will ensure actions steps are taken.

Pitfall:  We were excited about our plan and created a timeline that was too ambitious.

Actions plans are our “best guess” roadmap to the future – essential to have, but not infallible.  Reality never mirrors what we plan.

Reality:  Adjust action plans and timelines as you move forward.

With your team, tweak and reschedule activities to keep them viable.  Don’t overrun timelines and waste the good thinking that went into creating the plan.

Pitfall:  Our action plans aren’t relevant to what we are doing now.

Too many things in our environment change quickly.  Any detailed plans created more than 12 – 18 months ago may not be relevant.

Reality:  Action plans have a short life of only 12 – 18 months.

Higher level plan elements like the vision and strategic directions may stay relevant for as long as 5 – 7 years.  However, accomplishments must be analyzed and new action plans created every 12 -18 months.

Does your plan contain outcome measures and action steps set in a timeline?

Do you adjust action steps and the timeline to keep the plan viable?

How often do you update your action plans?

Create a plan – always have a plan!

Email me at carole@rylanderassociates.com or find out more about our services at www.rylanderassociates.com