How To Be a Strategic Doer

If you’re like many people who have been involved in strategic planning efforts, the thought of becoming involved in another one may leave you less than enthusiastic. Why?  Too often, despite the significant time and effort that may have been put into the process, once the plan is complete, not a lot happens. It seems we often feel fairly adept at the planning part of the process, but when it comes to the doing part we falter.

There may be a variety of reasons for this:

  • We’re so exhausted by the time the planning is over we don’t have the energy to keep pushing forward.
  • The leader of the planning effort isn’t the person who will actually hold anyone accountable for achieving the plan—and it’s not entirely clear who is!
  • We’re so busy with our “real work” that we don’t have time for this “extra stuff.”

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way. Strategic planning is an important business tool for any organization. Effective planning helps you clarify your mission, vision, goals and objectives; identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; and prioritize the strategic actions you need to take to achieve your goals and objectives. But, clearly, creating a plan isn’t enough. You have to be able to effectively implement the plan.

So, if you find your organization faltering in its ability to actually implement the plans it creates, here are five tips that may put you on the track to strategic doing success:

  • Start with an implementation plan. Given the overall goal of the planning effort, what steps will be taken at the end of the planning process to ensure implementation. Who will be ultimately responsible? Who will be involved?
  • Identify how the strategic plan outputs will be incorporated into existing work plans and organizational initiatives. The strategic plan shouldn’t be viewed as extra work – it should be viewed, and is, the real work of your organization.
  • Identify how the strategic plan will impact operational items such as budgeting, work assignments, employee evaluation, etc. – embed all elements of the final strategic plan into these operational processes to ensure alignment.
  • Establish a process and regular schedule for reporting on progress.
  • Develop and implement a communication plan. No, don’t wait until after the planning process is done and the plan is ready to be implemented. Start communicating now so that you can ensure

Finally, don’t keep your plan a secret. What do you think will happen? After all, if you’re challenged by the inability to successfully implement your plan and achieve results why in the world do you believe that your competitors will be able to do it? Think about it.

 

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