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
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
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
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
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
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
• 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
• 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
• 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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