Strategic planning efforts ideally create a long-term “road map” leading to future success. However, maintaining momentum while moving down that road can be a challenge. This blog series offers five tweaks to how you lead through strategy implementation to strengthen strategic results. In this post, I share with you how you can begin limited implementation immediately and unleash new momentum needed to push hard on the more complex strategic goals.
During strategic planning, many topics are raised that hinder success, but not all are strategic issues – meaning they may not be issues that require new planning to achieve future goals. Often planning discussions shed light on issues in behaviors or patterns within the organization that inadvertently cause friction or expose gaps in management practices. While a planning team may integrate these problems into a broader strategic initiative in their new strategic plan, they could leave these issues unresolved.
Eliminating friction or closing management gaps should be short-term and high priority objectives. We call these low hanging fruit; easy to reach and quick to pluck and resolve. When leadership teams or individuals make changes in their behavior immediately following a strategic planning process, three awesome things happen:
- Leaders demonstrate they have listened. It is one thing to ask for feedback as part of the strategic assessment, but, an entirely different thing to indicate that it has influenced you. When you come out of a long-range planning meeting and change behaviors or patterns immediately, you improve morale immediately and create optimism.
- Leadership embraces change. When leaders act differently, they demonstrate a desire and ease with adapting to change. Change is part of growth, so when it is visibly accepted, it sets the expectation that all should do the same and prepare to evolve. In executing a new direction, change is faced repeatedly. Making a change to low-stake issues, indicates that change is happening, now!
- Leadership shows a commitment to growth. Again, these immediate changes are not the big shifts that will produce significant strategic results. Implementing small changes can unleash confidence and renew momentum that can aid in moving along in the journey. By resolving near term issues quickly, you make an immediate and visible commitment to your new direction. You signal: “We are serious, things are evolving.”
So, before the next planning meeting ends, identify and agree upon the two or three small changes you can act on immediately, to begin with, the change you want to create. By doing so, you will ignite new momentum and start down your new road map immediately.
Read the next in this series.