by Lindsey Seigel, Thomas J. Reed, Jr. and Kenneth S. Gadd

This is the last entry, of three, in a discussion of an August 2013 article in Forbes magazine in which Bill Conerly talks about three pitfalls of strategic planning.

Pitfall 3. Vague Action Steps.

There are two key points in Conerly’s enumeration of this pitfall:

1) …vague thoughts are sometimes listed as action steps, but they fail to do the job. A good set of action steps helps each manager know what to do first thing in the morning.


2) If your strategic plan fails to define what the management team does every day, then it needs good action steps.

This is an important note. Too often we allow our final product from retreats and brainstorming sessions to be beautiful, but lack specificity. “To become leaders in our industry,” is a laudable goal, but what does that really mean? If it is to actually serve as a meaningful statement for our organizational intentions, the thought is still not fully formed

One must not allow ambiguous declarations to enter the strategic plan without statements of how the goal is to be accomplished and how your personnel are to contribute. Your team is more effective when they can see the goal ahead and recognize why certain tasks should be promoted on their individual to-do lists and how they fit into the organizational strategic plan.

Over the course of 30+ years, Ken Gadd and Gadd Business Consultants have led innumerable clients through this difficult process. We’ve helped businesses like Alawan Multimedia identify new avenues to follow and plan for navigating those paths. Non-profits and faith based organizations like Congregational Church Birmingham have also benefitted from GBC facilitating the crafting of a roster of specific tasks and a plan for how parishioners would execute them to advance the church’s acknowledged mission.

Call us today; we will work with you to make your next strategic planning session smoother and your execution more effective.

Gadd Business Consultants, aiding entrepreneurs sharpen their strategy and make an impact in the business, non-profit and faith-based communities for over 30 years. Contact us today.