You’ve spent weeks or perhaps even months going through the strategic planning process, often burning through hundreds of hours of staff time to craft ideal strategies. Yet, within only a few months you find that plans are beginning to morph and slowly shift direction away from your hard-won strategies. Without clear ownership of the project, executive buy-in and consistent communication, it’s difficult to drive for successful implementation of your strategies.
Clear Project Ownership
Each leader in the organization needs to take a degree of ownership for your strategic plan to be successful, but there should always be a clear change management leader. This individual helps facilitate conversations, drive adoption and create execution plans — and ultimately, hold other leaders accountable for delivery by their teams. When you have multiple executives with “primary” responsibility for crafting a strategic plan, you can end up with a range of opinions instead of a cohesive strategy. Clear project ownership allows for accountability and more streamlined decision-making.
Cultural change requires a great deal of clear, consistent and transparent communication. Everyone within the organization should be able to articulate what they are doing to contribute to the overall strategy of the organization, and how their actions impact business success. Messaging may be slightly different for different levels of leaders or employees, but all channels of communication should point back to the overarching strategy in real and understandable terms.
Nailing the Execution
The development of a strategic plan is only the first step in what is often a multi-year process. Translating that plan into concrete terms, communicating it to others and tying activities back to that plan requires focus and the energy to continue revisiting the strategy over time. Leadership must take the time to define measurable goals and objectives that relate back to the strategic plan and help keep these targets top-of-mind for employees at all levels of the organization. Objectives and tasks tend to become less clear as they become more detailed, which can allow strategies to drift due to lack of control.
Creating a strategic plan isn’t the work of an afternoon. It requires a deep dive not only into the future of your organization but a review of past successes — and misses. Maintaining clear ownership and consistent communication will help you craft a strategic plan that helps teams stay accountable and motivated. Contact the professionals at Starr & Associates Management Consulting today at 888-727-3017 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org to see how creating an evidenced-based strategy will allow your organization to become more efficient, effective and responsive to customer needs.