One of the great features of using strategic planning software is the ability to see definitive planning structure within each of your manager’s plans.
Strategic planning in management is essential but there are practical limitations to its use. The reasons why people fail in strategic planning emphasise the practical difficulties encountered in planning. Several limits within which planning has to operate make this undertaking difficult. Following are some of those limitations:
- Problems of Change: In a complex and rapidly changing environment, the succession of new problems is often magnified by implications that make strategic planning most difficult. The problem of change is more complex in long-range planning. In such conditions, planning activities taken in one period may not be relevant for another period because the conditions in two periods are quite different.
- Failure by People: There are many reasons why people fail in strategic planning, both at the formulation level as well as implementation level. Some of the major failures are lack of commitment to planning, failure to develop sound strategies, lack of clear and meaningful objectives, tendency to overlook planning premises, failure to see the scope of the plan, failure to see planning as a rational approach, excessive reliance on the experience, failure to use the principles of limiting factors, lack of top management support, lack of delegation of authority, lack of adequate control techniques, and resistance to change. These factors are responsible for either inadequate planning or wrong planning in the organisations concerned.
- Lack of Accurate Information: The first basic limitation of strategic planning is the lack of accurate information and facts relating to future. Planning concerns future activity and its quality will be determined by the quality of forecast of future events. As no manager can predict completely and accurately the events of future, the planning may pose problems in operation. This problem is further, increased by lack of formulating accurate premises. Many times, managers may not be aware about the various conditions within which they have to formulate their planning activities.
- Inflexibilities: A manager whilst going through the strategic planning process has to work in a set of given variables. These variables may be more in terms of organizational (internal) or external and often provide considerably less flexibility in planning action. Major internal inflexibilities that may limit planning are related to the psychology, organizational policies and procedures, and long-term capital investment. Managers are also confronted with many external inflexibilities and they do not have control over such as social, technological, legal, labour related, geographically and economic. The managers must formulate their plans keeping in view the demand of these factors. Thus, their scope of action is limited making planning ineffective in many cases.
- Time and Cost: While going through the strategic planning process managers should also consider both time and cost factors. The various steps of planning may go as far as possible because there is no limit of precision in planning tools. But planning suffers because of time and cost factors. Time is a limiting factor for every manager in the organization on, and if they are busy in preparing elaborate reports and instructions beyond certain level, they are risking their effectiveness. Excessive time spent on securing information and trying to fit all of it into a compact plan is dysfunctional in the organisation.
- Rigidity: Often people feel that planning provides rigidity in managerial action. The planning stifles employee initiative and forces managers into rigid or straitjacket mode of executing their work. In fact, rigidity may make managerial work more difficult than it need be. This may result in delays in work performance, lack of initiative, and lack of adjustment within a changing environment.
Many people feel that planning is limited in value because best results can be obtained by a muddling through types of operation in which each situation is tackled when and if it appears pertinent to the immediate problem. Though this factor of rigidity of planning is a limiting factor, without planning it is difficult to operate, particularly in larger organisations.
The planning also involves significant cost on the part of the organisation. The various factors analysed above contribute to the limitations of strategic planning, either making planning ineffective or making lesser degree of planned work.
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Our preliminary audit and analysis provide highlights and questions offending areas within undefined plans; when combined with our one-on-one Training and Development Program for Managers it provides a roadmap that will see your plans mature year on year and help advance your organization.
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