7 Deadly Sins of Strategic Planning: PRIDE

Welcome to Week 2 of our 7-week series on the “7 Deadly Sins of Strategic Planning.” This week, we’re exploring the sin of Pride and how it can hinder your organization’s growth. As always, Crane + Grey is here to help you overcome these pitfalls and create actionable, engaging, and highly effective strategic plans.

Week 2: Pride – Top-Down Planning ⬇️

Top-down planning refers to excluding stakeholders, staff, and diverse voices in your planning process. Doing so risks a narrow perspective, flat ideas, and a lack of ownership by staff and stakeholders. It’s the strategic plan equivalent of a duck-face selfie. It might seem like a good idea, but everyone is snickering at you behind your back.


Pride can lead to top-down planning, where leaders are reluctant to involve stakeholders and staff in the planning process. This approach misses out on diverse viewpoints, lacks input from the boots on the ground, and fails to foster a sense of ownership among the doers of the plan. It’ll get more eye-rolls 👀 than applause.


You do “the research” by digging into 3rd party data and reviewing staff surveys, but you don’t ask anyone about their vision or ideas. You fail to employ design thinking to empathize with your stakeholders as you plan for the future. As a result, your plan fails to even consider the perspectives of the very people who are tasked with bringing it to life. The staff, knowing they have value to contribute, are hesitant to take part in a flawed plan and, like so often is the case, your plan is relegated to the dustbin 🗑️.


At Crane + Grey, we help organizations overcome Pride by adopting a collaborative approach to strategic planning. We engage stakeholders, staff, and customers through imaginative exercises 💭 that bring the hypothetical to life, resulting in a well-rounded perspective and a plan that unifies the entire organization.

Our unique and time-tested Narrative Strategic Planning approach builds your plan around a shared story and unified vision, ensuring each idea is built on research, measurable with data, and ladders-up 🪜 to the big vision of our organization.