The #1 Mistake That’s Ruining Your Strategic Plan

If you’re building a strategic plan, it’s inevitable that someone will tell you to hire a consultant. However, this is a huge mistake.

We strongly recommend that you never hire a consultant to help with your strategic planning work. This may sound strange coming from what you think is a consulting firm. However, typical strategy consultants seldom deliver the results you need to prosper.

Consultant Definition: A person who provides expert advice professionally.

Consultants come into your organization and tell you what to do. They are “experts” who know the answers. However, no one likes to be told what to do. Telling someone what to do makes them defensive and almost always causes others to resist or shut down. Advice from outside “experts” is almost always rejected by internal teams.

Bringing in an outside consultant will also dis-empower you and cause your team to lose faith in your leadership skills! This can make matters in your organization worse, as this weakens your ability as a leader, alienates your team and prevents it from reaching your business goals.

As most successful business leaders know, hiring an external strategy consultant usually delivers a weak return on investment and may even result in poorer performance! The consultant’s advice simply doesn’t work, which leaves you with an alienated team, a huge bill and very few results to show for it.

Over the years, I have learned many lessons from leaders in business, sports and psychology. In my quest to help people prosper, I have learned that engaging a facilitator is a far more powerful way to engage and positively transform your organization.

Facilitator Definition: A neutral person who helps people understand, plan and achieve common objectives.

Facilitators are not experts – or pretending to be experts – in your business. Instead, they are more like enablers or coaches who help you and your team choose the best path. They help guide you and your team to craft the road map that will help you reach your goals.

Here are three reasons why you should choose a Facilitator over a Consultant:

1. You’ll empower your team.

Facilitators are neutral third parties who manage your planning process. Instead of telling you what to do, they leverage your team’s existing knowledge and expertise. You and your team are the experts with years of experience. A facilitator encourages your team to collaborate and come up with the best course of action. A good facilitator will engage and energize your team – giving it a sense of ownership over the direction of your organization. And after all, 90% of success is in attitude, belief and determination.

2. You’ll save money.

Hiring a strategy consulting firm costs significantly more than hiring a strategy facilitator. When you hire a consultant, you pay for a highly educated, experienced expert with a superiority attitude, from a large firm with huge overhead. These “experts” need to spend lots of time learning about your business – and then they charge you for it! They’ll run up a huge hourly bill figuring out what you do and then come up with a plan they tell you will work for your business. They’ll engage their high-priced market research, strategy and HR partners to develop a strategic plan that your team is unlikely to execute.

Instead, a strategy facilitator is someone who can do the work of three or four consulting firms because they leverage the existing knowledge, expertise and capability of your team. They engage your team, because an engaged team is a winning team. A qualified strategy facilitator collaborates with your team to conduct your market research and helps your team come up with its own strategic plan. Then, they help the leader motivate and empower the team to make the plan work. They facilitate sessions with your team on an ongoing basis to ensure that they implement your plan. A strategy facilitator allows you to do way more, with fewer resources.

3. You’ll get things done faster.

It can take an external consultant months to build your strategic plan. This puts a lot of strain on your budget, resources and staff. It is also a huge competitive disadvantage. A talented facilitator with a computer-assisted process can go on a retreat with your team today and immediately deliver a solid plan that you can execute tomorrow.

The strategy consultant’s approach results in a fixed, rigid plan that is expensive to change. This makes it hard to evolve your strategic plan as the market changes. Facilitators deliver much more flexible approaches, so you can adapt your plan in real time as the market changes dynamically.

Hiring a strategy facilitator gives you greater team engagement, commitment and performance. This translates into an effective powerful strategic plan that fuels your business growth.


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