Strategic planning in business is often seen as a safety net, but this can be a dangerous illusion. The fear of making decisions and taking risks can lead to an over-reliance on strategic planning. This can result in strategies that are too safe and lack innovation. The reality is that strategy is not about eliminating risks, but about making those risks explicit and managing them effectively.

There’s a tendency to confuse strategy with planning, but they are not the same. Strategy is about setting a direction, while planning is about control. The process of strategic planning often focuses too much on the planning aspect, leading to a false sense of security.

Comfort is found in the illusion of control that strategic planning provides, but this can be a trap. It’s important to challenge assumptions, question the status quo, and be willing to make uncomfortable decisions. This means accepting uncertainty and embracing the inherent risks in decision-making.

Risk is an inherent part of strategy, and it’s important to face it head-on. This involves acknowledging the real risks, not just the ones that fit into a neat strategic plan. It’s about making tough decisions, even when the outcomes are uncertain.

In essence, the key to effective strategic planning is to recognise its limitations and to balance it with a willingness to take calculated risks. The real lie of strategic planning is the belief that it can eliminate all risks. The truth is, strategy is about managing risk, not avoiding it.

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