Executing the Strategic Plan

We have congratulated ourselves on the creation of a powerful strategic framework to guide the organization for the next few years. For our clients will include a strategic framework with:

  • A Refined Vision Statement- A brief description of our organization of the future
  • Pillars of Success The foundation of our organization’s success
  • Multi-year Objectives – Targets for each Pillar of Success
  • Measures – Indicators of achievement- dashboard; and
  • Key Initiatives Projects or programs that will drive the achievement of our Strategic Objectives

That’s a pretty comprehensive description of what success looks like and it provides indications of the work required. But there is still plenty of opportunity to get stalled early on. Here are three factors that should drive implementation efforts.

Our People

While it may have taken a few days for the leadership team to develop the plan, it can take only a few minutes for people throughout the organization to misunderstand it. Some years ago, a multi-national client developed a powerful business strategy for their North American Division. The proud CEO then embarked on a tour of regions, equipped with a PowerPoint presentation, proclaiming the new approach. Unfortunately, months later, it became evident that too few people actually knew, understood or believed in the new strategy. To the CEO’s credit, rather than throwing up his arms in exasperation, he led the creation of training programs that were tailored for each level of the organization. This enabled each employee to understand the overall strategy and to know how it should affect their on-the-job behavior.

So, our first task is to invest the required time, effort and money to ensure that everyone in the organization will be willing to “get off the bus and help push it up the hill”.

Focus on Process

Change should come from process improvements. It is essential to have processes that are aligned to the organization’s strategic direction and capable of delivering the required customer value. To do that we need to view the organization as a system of processes that are delivering outputs, either to internal customers or to external customers. There are a variety of proprietary approaches to process improvement, but they all include a focus on understanding a process customer’s needs, establishing improvement results, examining performance gaps, identifying alternative means of improvement, and deciding, creating and implementing action plans.
Every business has many processes, but they are not all equal. Given that resources are always limited, our focus must be on those priority processes that will maximize the return by driving continuous improvement in critical areas such as increased revenue, decreased costs and higher quality levels.

Look for Innovation Breakthroughs

Business Driven Innovation should combine the rigor of sound business planning with the benefits of “out of the box” creativity.

When teams are given a challenge to meet the goals that have been set, find a facilitator to take them through a systematic sequence of actions, which enables it to:

  • Understand the nature of a problem
  • Generate massive amounts of potential ideas
  • Select the breakthrough ideas
  • Work the idea until it is a business solution

It doesn’t have to result in “silver bullets”. But it should enable the team to find new, unexpected ideas that will generate bottom-line value to the business.
So, as we move from strategic planning to implementation, we need to be sure that our employees are equipped to make the required changes, often through effective process improvements, and this should include some breakthrough ideas to improve the business.