Having a clear strategic plan is a critical part of keeping your organization on the path to success. However, the most important part of any plan is the execution. As a manager, it’s understandable that the chaotic events of the day get in the way and push you off the path carved out by your strategic plan. It’s not the intention, but often it’s the reality. Frequently, the strategic plan is created in a silo without consideration of daily challenges and dependencies between departments. How do we prevent this and ensure that the strategic plan is woven into the fabric of the business? Here are a few recommendations.
The key factors to creating an effective plan that will drive the direction of performance throughout the organization include the following steps:
- It’s a team effort! If you can devise a method to solicit input from all levels of employees, the plan will be owned by everyone and there will be a greater and shared determination to see it succeed. Including input from your employees provides a more realistic view of the probability of execution.
- Begin with a SWOT! The first step to creating a plan that will guide the direction of your business is to first identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of your business.
- Start with the what’s happening now! Assess the current year’s progress as compared with the current plan and identify factors that are affecting hitting or missing strategic goals. Use this information to ensure that your new year’s strategic initiatives are realistic and achievable.
- Look at it regularly! Schedule monthly meetings to review and analyze organizational achievement as compared with the strategic plan. Make adjustments throughout the year to overcome areas that are failing to meet expectations.
- Make it a regular part of the conversation! Communicate progress with all members of your team and keep everyone engaged in the execution of their specific goals as well as the overall plan.
- Get help! Particularly if this is a new initiative for your team, a consultant or coach can help to guide the process and provide an objective prospective. Utilize external guidance to ensure that the process adds value and is conducted efficiently.
- EXECUTE!! “Execution is the game.” – Gary Vaynerchuck
A strategic plan based on past performance and an in-depth analysis of internal and external factors is the first, crucial step to setting your business on a successful path. If your organization is trending in a positive direction, a strategic plan and maintain that trajectory. If your organization is failing to perform at the expected level, a strategic plan can organize and focus efforts in the direction needed to achieve the necessary performance improvements.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Ben Franklin