How useful is your business strategy really?

Most planning is done poorly - this is how to make it a bit better.

As we head rapidly towards 2021 many companies are feverishly putting together their plans and strategies for growth in 2021.

Considering the wild year 2020 turned out to be, there is most certainly a lot of optimism being heaped onto that 2021 strategic plan.

Strategy however  - because it is a view of what you intend to achieve in the future - rests on a lot of assumptions, which are the views and beliefs of the people in the room when the strategy itself was devised.

Strategy is only as good as the quality of the thinking that was used to create it

Depending on who was in the room at the time and the dynamics of the relationship between them - that strategy could be bloody terrible. It could be riddled with bias and insular, isolated thinking that may well produce no useful commercial outcome; at worst it could have a detrimental effect on the business.

Company executives feel compelled to put together a strategy for their business, but if it is a bad strategy, they're literally spending time devising a plan to destroy the future of the organisation without realising it.

The solution is then to either do nothing (just carry on as you were); or make sure that you at least produce a good, robust, accurate strategic plan.

Better strategic plans are written by making better decisions; and better decisions are made when you welcome diverse and sometime alternative perspectives into the strategy process.

By always relying on the same people and the same thinking to deliver a different result every year, you will be guaranteed to be disappointed.

It's not that other people have better ideas than you, they may just see things differently, and that might just be the catalyst that helps to unlock opportunity in a place that you had never considered before, or see a barrier to growth that you had never noticed before.

Better planning for the future starts with welcoming and listening to the point of view of a diverse array of different people.

You want to listen to people that have ideas different from yours, not ones that just echo what you already think. That's how you can develop a more comprehensive view of what might unfold in the future, not just be in love with your own ideas.