5 tips on implementing your strategic plan
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You’ve done the hard work of creating a strategic plan for your business. Now what? If your company is like many others, the plan will sit on a shelf, mostly ignored.
The phenomenon has a name: Failure to implement. It’s like having a roadmap to your destination but never getting in your car to drive.
Your strategic plan comes alive in the implementation. Here are five tips to help you make it happen in your business.
1. Allocate resources
Be sure to allocate sufficient human, financial and other resources (for example, equipment and IT support) to each step of your action plan.
Assigning adequate resources shows that the company’s leadership is serious about the plan and will help motivate employees to accomplish their assigned tasks.
2. Communicate the plan
It’s important to clearly communicate the requirements of your action plan throughout your business. Make sure everyone understands how the plan delivers on your vision and business strategy. Focus especially on communicating regularly with employees responsible for accomplishing specific tasks.
Hold regular follow-up meetings to discuss the plan’s implementation. Meeting frequency depends on your company, but it’s common to schedule more meetings in the first several months and eventually spread them out as progress on implementation gains momentum. You can also hold more in-depth quarterly and annual reviews.
Remember that communication goes both ways. Invite feedback from employees on the action plan and how to improve implementation.
3. Monitor progress
It’s important to continually monitor your progress toward milestones and the other performance measures you’ve set down in the action plan.
4. Update and adjust your plan
Adjust your action plan as conditions change over the course of the year. Similarly, consider how you need to update your overall strategic plan at an annual review. Each year, you will have to create a new action plan for the following 12 months.
These should be living documents. The more current they are, the more they will likely be relevant for your business.
5. Help employees
Hold employees responsible for accomplishing their assigned tasks on time. If they fail to do so, investigate why. Was the timeline realistic? Did the employee have adequate resources and support? If not, be sure to make the needed adjustments.
Also, recognize and/or reward employees when they accomplish their tasks on time. You can do this at the follow-up meetings, in internal communications and in performance reviews.