All organizations, from big to small, encounter organizational issues – whether it’s a lack of performance, team cohesion or other challenges. As such, the importance of strategic planning cannot be understated, but there are often major hurdles facing companies and the consulting firms that they hire to address these issues.

Strategic planning can suffer from certain common pitfalls, and these can be due to a wide range of factors including personnel, strategic execution, lack of commitment, or other, deeper issues within the company. Here are a few specific problems that can hamper your organization’s strategic planning.

Lack of commitment

Lack of commitment can be a result of leadership not taking charge or being on board with the plan. It can also be due to companies making plans just because prevailing wisdom or practices dictate doing so. The problem is that being half committed or not having the full support of CEO’s, stakeholders and management will nearly always result in failure. It’s important that a company understand just how important the plan is, what the benefits for the company will be, and how they fit into the picture.

Misguided goals

The end goal is always to improve the level of achievement within a company. It’s about expanding the right way, generating more profit, implementing the right policies, or hiring the right people. A major issue with strategic planning is that companies and the consulting firms they hire set goals that are too ambitious, misguided, unsuitable to the business environment, or some combination of the three.

Not setting meaningful, measurable, achievable goals is the first step toward failure. You shouldn’t decide one day to get up off of the couch, start from square one, and train for a marathon – you should aim to run a few kilometers, and build from there. Success is about realistic goals and relative achievement.

Personnel issues

The people that make up a company are obviously key to the success of the plan. A plan will fail if a company has the wrong people in management, especially if those people are unwilling to change or heed advice. The people in charge need to get behind the plan, and need to be willing to answer difficult questions.

Essentially, there are two broad categories of people that work on the strategic plan: dreamers and thinkers. The former group focuses on the big picture, long-term, or more philosophical goals, while the latter on today’s problems, short-term solutions, and fixes in the present. The conflict between people that often aren’t equipped to see long-term goals and those with a time frame that is too short is a major challenge that can doom strategic goals. Success blends the short term with the long term.

Strategic planning is about much more than simply setting goals. A company needs to have well-thought-out plans grounded in reality that are approached honestly. Strategic plans must be accepted by leadership, fully committed to, realistic, measurable and attainable.

At the end of the day, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to addressing these issues. Only with the help of the right consulting team can you avoid these common problems in strategic planning.