As strategic planning consultants, here at Funding for Good we’re always looking for the latest research and statistics about strategic planning. What works? What doesn’t? How does strategic planning benefit organizations—and how can it be even more effective?
When it comes to success, we’ve found that the most valuable part of strategic planning is the process, not the product. And the stats back this up. When we look at organizational challenges around strategy, it’s not about coming up with a plan, it’s about implementing your plan in day-to-day work. That includes building organizational and leadership buy-in from the start—which an effective strategic planning process should be designed to do.
Often, strategic planning consultants will also offer the opportunity to add implementation plan services to your strategic planning process. As the research below shows, both a strategic plan and an implementation plan are investments worth making.
Read more: How to Hire and Work with Strategic Planning Consultants
Strategic Planning Increases Your Organization’s Chance of Success
Having a plan—either a strategic plan or a business plan—positions both for-profit and nonprofit organizations for success. Indeed, studies have shown that having a written plan doubles an organization’s chance of success. Specifically:
- Companies with written business plans grow 30% faster. (Journal of Management Studies)
- 71% of fast-growing companies have strategic plans, business plans, or similar long-range planning tools in place. (Journal of Small Business Management and Bplans)
- Businesses with a plan are far more likely to get funding than those that don’t have a plan. (Department of Economics, University of Oregon, and Bplans)
We see the positive impact of planning not only in business but in the nonprofit sector as well. According to research from the Concord Leadership Group, nonprofits with written strategic plans are:
- More likely to collaborate with other nonprofits.
- More likely to have boards open to taking calculated risks.
- More likely to have a formal process for measuring leadership effectiveness across the organization.
Yet despite this, 49% of nonprofits don’t have a written strategic plan.
Statistics Show the Day-to-Day Matters for Strategy
Whether it’s in our personal lives or our work lives, how we spend our time is a reflection of our priorities. As a leader, it’s easy to spend workdays running from one crisis to the next, never finding time to think about long-term goals and objectives.
Even if your organization does have a strategic plan, it isn’t worth much if it’s forgotten in a drawer. The statistics show that this is all too often the case.
- 48% of leaders spend less than a day on strategy each month. (HBS)
- 48% of all organizations fail to meet at least half of their strategic targets. (Bridges Business Consultancy)
- 95% of employees don’t understand their company’s strategy. (HBR)
- In a survey of C-level executives, 88% say executing strategic initiatives successfully is “essential” or “very important” for their organizations’ competitiveness over the next three years. (Economist)
- Yet of those same executives, 61% acknowledge their firms often struggle to bridge the gap between strategy formulation and its day-to-day implementation. (Economist)
- Twenty years of research by Bridges Business Consultancy shows that leaders consistently underestimate what it will take to successfully implement strategy. (Bridges Business Consultancy)
- Lack of leadership through the implementation journey is the number one reason why implementation fails. (Bridges Business Consultancy)
- 60% of organizations don’t tie financial budgets to strategic priorities. (HBR)
- Companies that are poorly aligned with strategy report weaker financial results than their peers. (Economist)
- Almost a quarter of organizations only review their strategy implementations once a year. (Bridges Business Consultancy)
Read more: What is an Operational Plan vs a Strategic Plan?
How to Increase the Odds of Strategic Planning Success – According to Statistics
The first step in increasing your organization’s chance of success is creating a strategic plan. But just as vital is using that planning process to build leadership and organizational buy-in:
- According to a survey of C-level executives, the number one reason for the success of strategic initiatives is leadership buy-in and support. (Economist)
- Companies that report greater levels of C-suite involvement, better feedback mechanisms, more resourcing—particularly providing human resources—for initiatives, and more-robust processes report stronger results. 65% of these companies report much better financial performance than their peers, compared with just 18% of other companies that say the same. (Economist)
If you’re ready to start planning, check out our guide to strategic planning consultants and our easy-to-follow resource on how to write a strategic planning RFP.
Get Your Free Pre-Strategic Planning Checklist
This easy-to-use tool is the perfect place to begin strategic planning. Download it, print it out, and check off tasks as you go!