Creating a winning strategic plan is awesome. You feel great, your team is motivated, and you see renewed passion and commitment to shared success.
However, after a few months, the team starts to fall back into old habits, and you hear folks making the same decisions appearing to backtrack on the commitments made during your planning meetings. You start to doubt if anything will ever change or if neglect will impact your goals and plans.
“Is it all falling apart?" I have heard doubt frequently expressed during the first phase of implementation. Doubt can come from any level: the CEO when frustrated with the pace of progress, an executive team member bitter because they sense a lack of commitment from others, or from single contributors looking for a way to engage in the new direction.
If you are not a CEO, or an executive team member or even a single contributor engaged in making the plan happen, you might feel limited to maintain the momentum naturally unleashed during a great strategic planning effort? Let me assure you; there are many ways to perpetuate strategic momentum and possibly position yourself as a strategic leader to boot!
In this blog series, I share with you five small but meaningful changes you can make to ensure progress on long-term goals and significantly enhance success.
- Pluck the low hanging fruit and begin with the change you want to create. While strategic planning sets out a plan over many years, there are always short-term shifts or changes to be made immediately. Identify, act on and institutionalize these “quick wins” early in the implementation phase to begin with the change you want to create. - READ MORE
- Provide context, context, context. If you have been part of the strategic planning process, you already have a deep understanding of the thinking behind the strategic goals. However, implementation teams are often made up of individuals new to this thinking; they need the strategic thinking context to drive aligned execution. Consistently providing this context is key to strategic results and if you don't know it - find it. - READ MORE
- Connect the dots. During implementation key planning assumptions maybe overlooked or sub-optimized causing progress to stall or spin out of control. Take just a few minutes at every chance you get to make the connections between implementation planning discussions and the strategic thinking that established the goals in your new strategic plan. Again, if you don't know the thinking behind a goal or a specific direction, ask. - READ MORE
- Build new capacity by building new personal capabilities. Successful implementation of a new strategic plan depends on individuals stepping up, embracing new thinking and making a personal commitment to build the future. For many, this means the role you play will need to evolve. It may mean getting out of your comfort zone to achieve new levels of performance. For some, it could mean modifying your personal style, management focus or practices to manage current commitments and drive new priorities. - READ MORE
- Don't be afraid to make radical changes. Implementing a new direction is an ideal time to make changes happen. A new direction can provide the context or the rationale for change. Don't be shy about advocating for changes that only a few months earlier would have seemed disruptive. Strategic Plan implementation is the best time to make changes in personnel or organizational structure or maybe exiting a business that is dragging performance down. If you show bravery in the early stages of implementing a strategic plan, you foster a commitment to creating a shared future of success.
Each of these alone can improve your organization’s chances of executing your plan successfully. But, embrace all five and watch your performance accelerate.
Read the next in this series READ NEXT or learn What is Strategic Planning?