By: Sandi Verrecchia @satoriinsight
It is that time of year where businesses begin the yearly trek to plan the annual strategic planning session. Who will attend? Who will facilitate? Where will it be held? How can we make it different from last year? And the list goes on. Strategic planning is an integral part of any business and therefore the actual planning session is very important and needs the necessary planning to make it successful.
But why do strategic plans fail to be realized? Is it because the plan was flawed? Not usually. Typically, even the best of strategic plans fail due to poor execution.
I believe the simplest and most effect way to ensure your well thought out strategic plans gets properly executed is to implement the following 3 steps into your execution process.
1. Departmental business plans
Ensure that each department has a fully executable business plan that ties directly back to the strategy and ultimately to the vision. Each plan should start with the end in mind and include the following:
- The initiatives that will be completed throughout the year
- Link each initiative to a strategy
- Owner for each initiative
- Create measures for each initiative
- Timeline, milestones and budget for each initiative
2. Accountability meetings
- Prescheduled for regularity
- Focused on the milestones not activity
- Activity does not equal growth
- Celebration of successes
- Ensure that there is an easy way to capture the measures that were set out in the business plan
- Tie the measures back to the strategy
Let’s face it – not all plans work out. Having regular accountability meetings and solid measures allows departments and organizations to be nimble and change course early before too much time or resources have been invested. Always testing the results against the strategy not only acts as the rudder for keeping the ship on course but it keeps the strategic plan front and centre at all times. In other words it keeps the strategic plan from sitting on a shelf until the next years planning cycle.
The other huge advantage of keeping the plan moving is higher employee engagement. Employees want to have a line of site that connects their work to the overall strategy and holding regular meetings will make this happen.
It is not rocket science to create a plan and work the plan for the best results but the reality is that most strategic plans get dusty as they are seldom weaved through the yearly business plan to kept top of mind.
For larger businesses this process can be accomplished through senior leader or departmental accountability. If your business is small to medium in size and lacking the layers to keep things moving then I recommend working with a business coach that can help you navigate and take some of the pressure of this process landing on the shoulders of one person (usually the business owner).
I heard the quote yesterday “Begin with the end in mind” by Stephen Covey. This is truly what creating sustainable action is about. Understanding when the ship is headed will undoubtedly allow your business to chart its course, measure the journeys success and change course quickly when needed.
CMC, CPCC, MBA
Sandi Verrecchia is a Certified Management Consultant, holds a Masters degree and is a professional Leadership Coach. With over 20 years of experience in the financial services, academic and not for profit sectors, her diverse background of consulting, operations, marketing and sales is a wonderful compliment to her passion for coaching.