How is your 2018 strategic plan shaping up?

So, the first quarter of 2018 has come and gone. For those of you who have a strategic plan that is tied to the calendar year, how are your strategic goals shaping up? Are you on target? Are you minding the “strategy gap”? 

Numerous articles, podcasts, and webinars focus on the gap that exists between the development of a strategic plan and the implementation of that plan. For many organizations, the year begins with the executives attending an off-site meeting to discuss and establish the strategic plan for the year. Unfortunately, a significant number of organizations never actually develop an implementation plan, to include activities such as assigning ownership of the implementation effort and determining metrics associated with reporting on the progress of the plan. 

Although we are into the second quarter of 2018, it’s not too late to regroup. Begin by bringing visibility to the strategic plan. Take some time to conduct an informal survey of staff. While in the lunchroom, elevator, or meetings, casually ask your colleagues if they know the Vision and Mission of the organization. Are they familiar with the strategic goals? If so, do they have a good idea on how their responsibilities contribute to those strategic goals? 

If the answer to any of these questions is “No,” it’s time for an Administrative project revolving around the visibility of your strategic plan. That project plan should encompass the following:

  • Assigning a Project Lead to implement a visibility and communication campaign dedicated to the organization’s strategy. 
  • Engaging a printer to produce varying-sized posters detailing the Vision, Mission, Core Values, and Strategic Goals for 2018, for posting in the lobby, elevators, lunchrooms, hallways, and other high-traffic areas. 
  • Working with the IT team to establish a high-visibility, all-access location on the intranet for posting the Vision, Mission, and Strategic Goals, then and using this same location to post goal updates, metrics, and a dashboard. 
  • In conjunction with the executive team, establishing a communication plan and schedule that provide for regularly updating the organization’s staff on the progress toward achieving the strategic goals. In addition to updating the intranet site, the communication plan can make use of vehicles such as the following:
    • Staff celebrations in the form of bagels for breakfast or cake in the afternoon, for example, when strategic goals are achieved or other major milestones associated with the strategy met. 
    • Email communications from the executive team that highlight other forms of progress on the strategic plan and include praise for individuals and/or teams that made that progress possible.
  • Assessing the present status of the 2018 strategic goals to:
    • gain a better understanding of the objectives, resource needs, metrics, and scope of the identified goals and
    • yield a report to provide the executive team with a better understanding of the current status of the 2018 strategic plan and any actions that must be taken by management to kick-start those actions.
  • Reviewing the project portfolio to ensure proper prioritization and alignment with the strategic plan. Many project portfolios are managed independently from the organization’s strategy, which can be a recipe for sinking the strategic plan. The project portfolio must be in direct support of the strategic plan if an organization is to achieve its strategic goals. 

Establishing and implementing a strategic plan is an ongoing effort that should not be taken lightly. All of the puzzle pieces are there, you just need to identify the appropriate resources to help complete the puzzle so that everyone can see the big picture.

The takeaway? Don’t just check the box indicating that your strategic plan is complete. Ensure that you have the support plan in place to make the strategic plan effective, relevant, and impactful. Make implementation planning part of your next strategic-planning activity.