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Typical Problems That Limit the Effectiveness of Strategic Planning

Many health care organizations that undergo a strategic planning process come across common issues that can cause a plan to derail or stall.  Some of the typical problems that can limit the effectiveness of strategic planning process include:

Failing to involve the right people

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There are times when too many or too few stakeholders are involved in the planning process.  It is imperative to ensure involvement of the appropriate mix of individuals.

Exclusion of financial considerations from the strategic planning process

If finances are not included in the strategic plan, significant difficulties can arise when attempting to implement said strategies.

Overanalyzing information

Exhaustive analysis of minor data/information points can greatly impede the occurrence of meaningful change.

Not addressing the critical issues

If leadership focuses only on minor topics, the strategic plan will follow suit and the organization will be left without solutions to its truly critical and threatening challenges.

Disregarding the implementation process

Failure to implement a strategic plan is one of the most common flaws of the planning process, as staff members are more focused on daily operations than strategic objectives.

Failing to reach a consensus

Leadership must gain enthusiastic support directly from stakeholders to ensure that the strategic plan is successfully realized.

Lacking flexibility in a changing environment

The strategic planning process can, at times, be too structured and therefore limit creativity.

Ignoring resistance to change

Leadership must directly address any major concerns surrounding changes proposed by the strategic plan to maximize the plan’s effectiveness.


A well-executed strategic plan can transform an organization and allow it to reach new heights in its performance.  For this ideal scenario to be possible, however, it is essential for leadership to address these common barriers.