Strategic plans become the budget’s descriptive front end, often projecting five years of financials in order to appear “strategic.” But management typically commits only to year one ; in the context of years two through five, “strategic” actually means “impressionistic.”

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This exercise arguably makes for more thoughtful and thorough budgets. However, it must not be confused with strategy. Planning typically isn’t explicit about what the organization chooses not to do and why. It does not question assumptions. And its dominant logic is affordability ; the plan consists of whichever initiatives fit the company’s resources.
The bottom line, therefore, is that the predictability of costs is fundamentally different from the predictability of revenue. Planning can’t and won’t make revenue magically appear, and the effort you spend creating revenue plans is a distraction from the strategist’s much harder job : finding ways to acquire and keep customers.

The Big Lie of Strategic Planning

A detailed plan may be comforting, but it’s not a strategy.