The reason so many business plans ultimately fail is timing, writes Brian Lassiter, president of the Minnesota Council for Quality. In the short term, there's always something more important to worry about, he writes, so long-term priorities get put on the back-burner. The trick, he argues, is to keep your strategic plans simple and to measure your success in real time. "Use the data and measures you've selected to monitor progress and make mid-course corrections," Lassiter advises.

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