You’ve got huge dreams.
You make an awesome strategic plan.
Everyone gets excited as you take your first steps to making those dreams a reality.
Then………it all fizzles out.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone – over 70% of all strategic plans fail.
We could (and do) write hundreds of articles about strategy execution. But my guess is that you’re probably one of those people who’d rather focus as much of their energy as possible on getting things done. That’s why I’ve compiled my top 5 strategy execution tips into this one post, to give your strategic plan the best possible chance to succeed.
Just before we get into it, here’s an awesome video of some meerkats who also feel your strategy pains:
Let’s get into it – here are my top 5 strategy execution tips:
#1 Maintain the momentum
Having a great strategic plan is a good place to start. But how often have you seen an organization put a great deal of effort goes into planning and launching their strategy, but within weeks or even days, people just go back to business-as-usual and the whole exercise is for naught. Create a momentum plan to go alongside your actual plan. Schedule regular strategy meetings, workshops and Q&As. Throw in some fun strategy events throughout the year (parties, off-sites, etc). For larger organizations, send out regular strategy surveys and updates to keep strategy top of mind for your people.
#2 Embed strategy into current processes
Our second strategy execution tip is all about people. The last thing you want is for strategy to be seen as an addition to people’s current workloads. Instead, strategy and strategic thinking needs to become a part of how people work, and everything that they do. If you’re using a cloud based strategy platform, make use of the reports and dashboards in your team meetings. Ensure that processes like end-of-year appraisals and pay reviews make direct reference to the success of the strategic plan. Whenever you launch a new initiative or project, go out of your way to demonstrate how it aligns to one of your strategic focus areas – and ensure others do the same too.
#3 Celebrate success
Your strategy will never really ‘finish’ – it will evolve over time and you’ll create new goals as you hit existing ones. That’s why it’s so important to celebrate the small successes along the way. The first time you achieve one of your organizational goals, enjoy it! Not privately, but instead share that success with the entire organization. Whether it’s a simple email or a full blown party, the fact that you’re so notably celebrating the success of a strategic goal is not only great for morale, but it also sends a strong message that the execution of the plan really matters.
#4 Iterate. Then iterate some more
Here’s the reality – when you created your strategic plan, you didn’t get it 100% right. Circumstances change, the world moves on, whatever the reasons – certain parts of your strategy will either change or disappear completely. That’s ok! What’s not ok, is sticking dogmatically to a plan that is becoming less and less relevant with each passing day. Revisit your plan, change it, communicate those changes and be upfront with your people about the reasons why things have changed. They’ll appreciate the honesty and respect, but even more importantly your plan will remain relevant and credible.
#5 Empower people
We’ve saved probably the most important of our strategy execution tips to last. Nothing drives delivery of a strategic plan like accountability and empowerment. If you’ve been following our strategy framework, then your plan will be neatly divided into a series of focus areas. Try giving each of these focus areas to one of your leadership team to champion. It’s not about them having to deliver the goals, but more about them driving the communication, and overall ownership of that aspect of your strategy.
What strategy execution tips would you add to our top 5? Leave them in the comments section or hit us on up social media.