So, you’ve manifested a new vision and have created a strategic plan to lift your organization toward its next level programming, scale-up, or expansion. The possibilities for the future seem endless (and the energy buzzing in the office matches that enthusiasm). But as you start to implement the plan, something happens. The buzz gets quieter, energy starts to stagnate and that once-future-forward enthusiasm seems to go retrograde. Before you know it, your strategic plan is on the back burner; a burned up piece of a “nice to do” activity versus a “mission critical” plan for advancement.
What happened? This graphic helps explain…
Too often, companies think that because a strategic plan failed to launch, the problem is with the plan. The temptation then is to change the plan. But 74% of the time, the plan is solid…it’s the execution that lacks luster. Even more shocking is that just 4% of good plans experience good execution. Why?
Execution requires attention. And the attention it needs is aligned with the people and the process, not the planning and presentation.
Planning exists in the vision–the direction we’re headed and where we want to be. Execution and action exist in the day-to-day. So, when implementing a strategic plan, shift, or new initiative, you’re basically asking the organization to do double-duty on their tasks. First, in the normal execution of routine for the business in addition to the smaller, more bite-sized execution of the strategic plan. Failure to move a strategic plan from the big vision to actionable steps is where 74% of companies fail.
Here are some steps to stay on track:
- Executing on any plan is change management at its finest. And the core of successful change management is good communication.
You’re asking your team to step outside their comfort zone. You’re asking them to bring life to a new version of your business. There will be a million little details that pop up to indicate whether the plan is working as expected, or if it needs to be adjusted. Open and honest communication for all persons and departments involved is critical to ensure you’re capturing what needs fine tuning. (Also good communication is helping your team understand the plan won’t go right the first time, and that’s not only expected, it’s ok!)
- Be very comfortable with making adjustments as implementation moves forward.
Again, too often teams expect the perfect strategic plan to execute itself straight out of the box. This is wildly unrealistic. Be sure you’re managing your own expectations and that of your team.
- You’ll need a way to measure your progress.
Consistent measurement is a barometer of performance. What does success look like at each milestone? Who is doing what? Which activities are wholly dependent on each other? And which activities have the potential to sink the entire project? Which activities are critical for success?
- Accountability, accountability, accountability
The most surefire way to burn out your team is to hand them a strategic plan and then walk away. Your leadership will be needed now more than ever during this process. Determine how you intend to hold everyone accountable to the goals and milestones you’ve created, and most importantly, hold yourself accountable for the success (or failure) in executing.
If this seems intimidating, you’re not alone. But the good news is, we can help. Launch Point helps countless businesses not only create the vision for their best strategic plan, but works to implement each step A to Z right alongside you and your team. We’re the experts in change management and implementation so you don’t have to be. And, we think we make the process as much fun as possible, too.
For more information, contact us today.