Monday, December 1, 2014

Lessons from P&G - False reasons for not doing strategic planning

Procter & Gamble spends a considerable amount of time and effort in gathering the appropriate data and developing the right strategic plans that can be followed to maximize effectiveness in the market.  As a result, they have a significant number of billion dollar brands from their world-wide effort.  Yet, as we have studied many other companies across a broad range of industries, we find that many companies are reluctant to undertake the simple strategic planning process and thus are not achieving the results that they should.

Here are the 7 most common reasons given for not doing strategic planning.  You can see why these could be considered to be false reasons and just stand in the way of the company’s success.  The lessons from Procter & Gamble show how these may be false.

1 The CEO believes they already have a plan in their mind.
 Too often the CEO believes that there is already a strategic plan because they have a rough plan in their mind.  The difficulty is that this plan is generally not data based and worse still is not communicated well or understood by the rest of the organization.  As a result, the organization does the best that they are able but seldom in line with the CEO’s vision or plan.  Valuable resources in people and finances are not focused and wasted.  If you want the plan to work, write it down and share it broadly.  This only makes sense!

2  A belief that funds for planning are not available. 

This is a great misunderstanding and is based on a short term view.  The investment of funds to do a strategic plan properly is generally minimal. The ROI is generally considerable.  Once the expenditure is made, the benefits start quickly and the business and profitability grow.  This is an investment that will pay big dividends in so many ways.

3 Focusing on too many other projects.

One of the reasons that there are too many other projects is that there is no well-known and followed plan.  A strategic plan is not only what the company will do but what it will not do.  Focused effort leads to fewer false starts with less wasted effort and rework.  Productivity increases.  The employees are happier and have less stress, thereby reducing turnover.

4 A Belief that the market will change

Many companies put off strategic planning because they expect the market will change.  Of course, the market will change!  But the purpose of the plan is to manage that change and not be managed by it.  The right plan can help companies to take advantage of market changes and gain a competitive advantage over competitors who have done no planning.  Develop the plan and review it, altering it to capitalize on market changes.

5 Not sure how to proceed
Executives at companies are smart.  They clearly have the intelligence to do strategic planning.  However, in many cases they just don’t have the training in strategic planning and should be active participants instead of facilitators.  Having a simple process like the one that we use at Moon & Stars allows the executives to lead the planning without disrupting the daily business.

6 Team doesn’t want to do it

Teams generally do not get involved in strategic planning.  They are just provided with new ways of doing business and of course there is always a resistance to change.  They need to be “pulled” into executing the plans.  At Procter & Gamble, all are involved and so they believe that they have a vested interest in the plans and an understanding of the benefits.

7 Takes too much time/ Waste of time

Actually, the strategic planning process can be built upon current data and knowledge and accomplished within normal work effort.  Almost immediately, it will become clear as to the activities that can be eliminated due to negative or low returns.  This frees up the time to do the planning and the activities which will have a long term positive effect.


Strategic planning is generally misunderstood and as a result these and other false reasons are held that prevent companies from getting the benefit of the planning.  We at Moon & Stars have had the opportunity to learn, not only how to do strategic planning, but to assist clients to develop plans that are specifically tailored to their situation.  The time and investment are minimal and the results are significant.  Procter & Gamble makes this process a common activity in which everyone participates.

What is holding you back from getting the business results that you might achieve?


John Maver
Founder and Managing Director of Moon & Stars Consulting
President Maver Management Group
(925) 648-7561
Maver Management
View John Maver's profile on LinkedIn

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