Strategic plans address the what and why of activities, but implementation addresses the who, where, when, and how. Most companies know what they need to do, but doing it requires something else...
Avoiding the Implementation Pitfalls
Because you want your plan to succeed, heed the advice here and stay away from the pitfalls of implementing your strategic plan.
Here are the most common reasons strategic plans fail:
Lack of ownership: The most common reason a plan fails is lack of ownership. If people don’t have a stake and responsibility in the plan, it’ll be business as usual for all but a frustrated few.
Lack of communication: The plan doesn’t get communicated to employees, and they don’t understand how they contribute.
Getting mired in the whirlwind: Owners and managers, consumed by daily operating problems, lose sight of long-term goals.
Out of the ordinary: The plan is treated as something separate and removed from the management process.
An overwhelming plan: The goals and actions generated in the strategic planning session are too numerous because the team failed to make tough choices to eliminate non-critical actions. Employees don’t know where to begin.
A meaningless plan: The vision, mission, and value statements are viewed as fluff and not supported by actions or don’t have employee buy-in.
Annual strategy: Strategy is only discussed at yearly weekend retreats.
Not considering implementation: Implementation isn’t discussed in the strategic planning process. The planning document is seen as an end in itself.
No progress report: There’s no method to track progress, and the plan only measures what’s easy, not what’s important. No one feels any forward momentum.
No accountability: Accountability and high visibility help drive change. This means that each measure, objective, data source, and initiative must have an owner.
Lack of empowerment: Although accountability may provide strong motivation for improving performance, employees must also have the authority, responsibility, and tools necessary to impact relevant measures. Otherwise, they may resist involvement and ownership.
It’s easier to avoid pitfalls when they’re clearly identified. Now that you know what they are, you’re more likely to jump right over them!
Covering All Your Bases
As a business owner, executive, or department manager, your job entails making sure you’re set up for a successful implementation. Before you start this process, evaluate your strategic plan and how you may implement it by answering a few questions to keep yourself in check.
Take a moment to honestly answer the following questions:
How committed are you to implementing the plan to move your company forward?
How do you plan to communicate the plan throughout the company?
Are there sufficient people who have a buy-in to drive the plan forward?
How are you going to motivate your people?
Have you identified internal processes that are key to driving the plan forward?
Are you going to commit money, resources, and time to support the plan?
What are the roadblocks to implementing and supporting the plan?
How will you take available resources and achieve maximum results with the resources you currently have?
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