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Strategic Planning: Devote time to implementation

Strategic Planning: Devote time to implementation

 

Mary SandQ. Once I have a strategic plan, how do I implement it?   

A. I often see organizations devote time to strategic planning with everyone energized about the possibilities ahead and committed to new goals. Unfortunately, the daily demands of operating the business can interfere with the leader’s ability to implement their new plan. A few simple steps done at the beginning of the implementation phase lay the foundation for a successful implementation.   

Begin by assigning ownership and creating timelines for all the new work. When assigning ownership consider who has the expertise to lead the work. Rather than tapping the same people who get asked to do everything, consider if this is the opportunity for an aspiring employee to be given a stretch assignment and take on the work. Setting timelines provides a roadmap of the steps that need to be accomplished and makes it easy to track projects. Celebrating milestones as they are achieved keeps the team engaged and creates momentum for the next steps.   

It’s important to find ways to incorporate the strategy work into the routines of the organization.  Meetings are one example of this. If leadership gathers weekly or monthly, then meeting agendas need to include devoted time to strategy. This is a simple approach to keeping strategy at the top of everyone’s mind. This also allows for accountability. Whoever is responsible for projects related to the strategic plan provides updates at the meetings on their progress. This process creates a cadence to the work.   

Course corrections may be necessary as implementation occurs. Both internal changes and external challenges may force this; however, if the team is doing the steps listed above, then course correction becomes part of the discussion as leaders report progress (or lack of) as compared to their timelines.   

Taking a little bit of time to plan your implementation puts you on the path to success. You’ve got this!   

Mary Sand, PhD, is owner/president of Sand Consulting. Reach her at 605.212.9374 or [email protected]

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