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Strategy - it's all about execution

Strategic planning is a celebratory process - it usually happens only once every few years, involves outside consultants, high-level thinking, and a feeling that henceforward everything will be different because "we have a strategy".

If you have been following my blog you may recall that I repeatedly highlight the importance of starting a strategic planning process with a deep-dive into the organisational culture since, as I point out tirelessly, culture eats strategy for breakfast.

But neglecting to start with culture is not the only reason that 2 out of 3 strategic plans fail. Another major reason is that when the consultants leave, the decorations are removed from the auditorium where the new strategy has been celebrated, and the cheers die out everyone goes back to their daily routines, the urgent trumps the important and the strategy remains a collection of slogans.

This is not an unavoidable destiny. Strategy can become reality, but it takes planning and discipline. An organisation that wants its strategic plan to drive results needs to:

  1. Create a detailed and executable plan:

    1. break down the elements that will have been identified as the key drivers of the plan to practical, measurable and achievable goals.

    2. sort these goals by dependency and priority - the more important ones and those that are needed in order for others to be delivered come first.

    3. split them to calendar quarters for easier management

    4. assign champions to each goal - a person that will be responsible to achieve them

  2. Execute it:

    1. further break down each goal to tasks - smaller elements that can be accomplished within a week and will add-up to achieve the entire goal

    2. sort them using the same logic as above (see 1.b.)

    3. every week(!), preferably just before heading out to the pub on Friday have a short meeting to review the previous week's tasks and plan the next week's. Make sure not to let things slip away.

    4. at the end of each quarter review the quarterly goals. If anything will have not been achieved ask "Why?" and put measure in place to take measures to fix it

There is a reason that it is called a strategic PLAN. Create one.

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