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   Strategic Execution: Moving Your Strategic Plan to Action

    A strategic plan, once you have asked the right questions, used the right tools, and have made sound decisions, can be
    relatively easy to construct. It is in the implementation that the difficulties arise.

A strategic plan’s intended results can only be realized by following through on its implementation.

 

How to Take the Strategic Planning Process Down to Action

Strategic Planning - Execution

What Obstacles to Avoid?

No process comes without some obstruction along the way. Key obstacles to watch out for in executing a strategic plan are as follows:

• absence of an executive strategic plan champion
• insufficient employee participation in constructing the plan
• misalignment between functional areas
• no integration between the strategic plan and the operations plan
• inadequate measurements in the strategic plan
• lack of continuous progress monitoring throughout the execution
• limited agility to adjust the plan as environment changes dictate.

What Resources are Required?
 

Time, effort, and follow through are essential to make a strategic plan happen. Facilitated planning sessions, co-ordination of the plans, and leadership that manages performance against the plans will go a long way to ensure the strategic plan’s success.

Deciding on the appropriate strategic approach for the organization, the step-by-step process to use, and the time line to adhere to will give structure to the organization’s strategic endeavor. Ultimately, once a strategy is determined, its feasibility must be checked against the available resources needed to make it happen. Given the resources available, the strategy may need to be adjusted or elements added.

 

How to Tackle Strategic Planning as a Work Team?
 

No matter where you are in an organization, or at what level of leadership, you need to strategically plan for your team. If you are fortunate enough that your organization has a strategic plan, then you need to understand it and translate it into objectives, deliverables and actions that your team has to execute to ensure the vision can be realized. This would entail every member of your team knowing what it is they have to deliver and do, by when and to what quality standard. This implies the participation of your entire work team. Their personal development plans need to be linked to their current performance requirements, their own needs and goals, as well as the needs of the organization now and into the future. Some organizations may not have a strategic plan or be late in producing one. However, that should never stop you planning for your own team. You can still do the environmental analysis, find out what your customers want, and plan accordingly. You can work towards aligning with other teams and you can certainly feed your plans back up the hierarchy. In this way, you can hopefully provide input into the strategic thinking process at the top of the organization and influence actions and the perception of the image of your work team. This will especially be apparent if you keep reporting on your progress against the plan, as well as indicating the impact on the customer and the organization. If a plan comes through from top management later, your team plans can be adjusted accordingly to ensure alignment.

 

How to Work Through Strategic Change?
 

Working through a strategy by implication means that there will be change in the organization. In order to move forward to reach the goals in the organization, it is worth determining those systems, processes, and behaviors that would still continue to work for the organization. Then there are those that need to be discontinued as they will no longer serve their desired purpose. There needs to be a plan of how to stop certain actions together with what to replace them with.

Any change has implications for an organization across the spectrum of the value chain. The adjustments that will result from a strategic plan need to be considered systemically. The possible impact throughout the organization requires consideration. The changes must be planned for, made, and monitored. The idea is to minimize surprises and increase the proactive handling of intended changes. The best way to handle strategic change is to ensure that
• strategic plans are set
• all the variables are considered
• there is an executive champion
• wide scale participation is utilized
• all the stakeholders and  interfaces are managed
• regular milestone success points are included in the plan.
• monitoring, measurement, and feedback happen throughout
• appropriate integrated systems are in place, as and when needed
• employees are relevantly and comprehensively informed throughout the process.
 

What Strategic Execution Skills are Required?
 

With each article in the Strategy series, the competencies required are delineated. The skill set below augments the competency lists for Strategic Thinking, Strategic Planning, and Strategic Alignment.  You will need to be able to:
• establish responsibilities for deliverables and objectives
• ensure individual performance agreements are established
• clarify expectations
• minimize and manage barriers, whether process, system, resource, or relationship based, to the successful completion of a strategy
• hold team meetings to ensure the strategic focus is kept and progress made against the strategy
• measure, provide feedback and follow through on performance results
• motivate and inspire people to achieve the strategy
• create critical documentation for tracking and replication
• balance producing deliverables and fostering relationships
• build collaborative relationships
• ensure policies are executed through the strategy
• ensure best business practices are executed through the strategy
• know how to get things done in light of the organization’s structure, technologies,  systems, procedures, information sources, and
  group and personality dynamics
• communicate the right message to the right people at the right time in the right way throughout strategy execution
• make decisions; taking into account all relevant variables, as well as possible consequences
• celebrate successes

 

A shared compelling view of the future is an important first step to focus and motivate employees. People need to understand the context within which they are operating and be empowered to make decisions based on the variables and choices that are present. This implies that though the action plan is determined and feedback and follow-through occurs, strategic thinking during the implementation phase should NOT cease. It is the strategic thinking that everyone embraces in an organization that ensures organizational agility, superior customer service, and the realization of the strategic goals.
 


  

We offer our clients an extensive range of Strategic Planning Services.

 

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