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Your strategy is set. Your team is highly supportive of your overall strategic direction and the strategic initiatives on which it is based. There has been some activity, however, implementation is proceeding at a snail’s pace.
All too often, employees find themselves too busy working in the business to work on the business. Faced with a choice, they will normally prioritize the tasks on which their performance is measured. While these tasks are important, so too is the work involved in implementing the organization’s strategic plan.
Integrating implementation and day-to-day responsibilities
Removing roadblocks that can undermine the success of any strategic plan requires a different way of thinking about implementation:
- leaders must be clear on what’s involved in implementing key initiatives and projects, who will be responsible, and what resources will be required;
- every employee (from the most senior executives to those on the front lines) must be clear about his or her role in executing the plan;
- job descriptions and reviewable performance measures should be integrated with the strategic plan;
- the budgeting process should take full account of the real costs of activities required to execute the plan and the resources needed to support execution; and
- workloads must be examined and certain tasks and responsibilities reallocated to ensure that employees can handle day-today tasks as well as those associated with implementation.
Mapping out an effective action plan
In our experience, the most effective action plans are those that specify what will be accomplished in a series of 90- or 120-day periods. While it’s essential to keep an eye on the bigger picture – for example, initiatives requiring three years or longer to complete and the large chunks of work that each entails – the focus should be squarely on what can be done in these shorter periods to prepare for, or contribute to, a desired outcome.
This philosophy guides our approach to operationalizing your strategy. Our role is one of facilitator, advisor, educator, and coach. We will guide you through the operationalization process and work with you to customize tasks to fit within your culture.
Members of your team take ownership of, and are accountable for, the execution. As a result, the eventual success of your strategy will be their success. Major steps include:
- Appointing a champion for each initiative and lead for each project.
- Making decisions on the order in which to execute projects and tasks.
- Working with team members to identify and develop solutions to potential roadblocks.
- Ensuring that each project is fully costed, and the required resources budgeted.
- Reviewing progress with team members at regular intervals and updating the 90-or120-day Action Agenda as necessary.
As the true value in a strategic plan lies in its implementation, this holistic approach to implementation is the only way of being certain that execution is woven into an organization’s culture.