Why Strategic Plans Often Fall Short

Bob Sevier

Bob Sevier

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Last fall I wrote an article for a Stamats publication called Academic Strategist that outlined 10 reasons why strategic plans often fail or often do not live up to expectations. I have since augmented that article with some insights from a great posting in Forbes.1 In some respects the comments below are the flip side of the benefits of strategic planning presented previously. Here they are:

  • The plan did not begin with a compelling vision
  • We placed more importance on writing the plan than implementing the plan
  • The planning process was too complicated, took too long, and was too “top down”
  • The planning process did not “force” leaders or the institution to make tough decisions and prioritize goals and resources
  • The plan looked backward rather than forward. It affirmed historic, increasingly out-of-date paradigms rather than preparing us for the future
  • The plan was not based on a realistic situation analysis
  • There were too many goals
  • The plan was not budgetarily sustainable
  • There was no accountability or follow through



1I smoothed the Forbes language a bit to make it more higher education friendly. Here’s a link to that article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/aileron/2011/11/30/10-reasons-why-strategic-plans-fail/

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