So, how is it going with your 2018 strategic goals? Did your 3Q dashboard, or balanced scorecard, show progress on your strategic goals? If you have been making progress with your 2018 goals, congratulations! Nice work!
If you were unable to make progress on your strategic goals this year, let’s get you ready for the next review session with some ideas on how to kick your strategic plan into gear.
Although many issues may contribute to your organization being ineffective with its strategy, a survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2017 found the following factors to be among the leading barriers to successful strategy implementation:
· Poorly understood/communicated strategy
· Poor coordination across the organization
· Poor flow of information
· Lack of accountability
· Failure to win over hearts and minds
· Lack of monitoring
· Lack of CEO/senior leadership support
Whether these or other barriers exist in your organization, a number of techniques can be used to support a strong strategic plan.
· Conduct a lessons learned activity that incorporates input from staff representing all levels of the organization. Focus on identifying any barriers that may be in place, as well as those aspects of your plan that are working well. Can you replicate that success in other areas?
· Review the existing communication plan for the organizational strategy.
• Is the plan multi-tiered, making use of your Intranet site, emails, visual aids such as posters, and in-person discussions? Messages from the senior leadership team, online dashboards reflecting goal status, means of obtaining more information such as staff forums and lunch ’n learn sessions—all these and more can be used as part of a varied communication plan that helps staff absorb information about the organizational goals in the way that works best for them.
• Does the plan include mechanisms for managers and supervisors to communicate the strategy to their teams and ensure understanding by the line staff? Recognizing the efforts of staff involved in various aspects of the implementation plan and sharing success stories as well as challenges and related responses can have the added benefit of encouraging overall engagement.
• Have you asked the staff, informally, whether they are familiar with the strategic goals and their roles in achieving those goals? See my blog posting called “What Strategy?” (https://www.mbiconsults.com/blog/what-strategy) for a discussion about how many people are unfamiliar with their organizational strategy.
· Reassess the strategy implementation plan for activities that are working well and opportunities for replication.
• Incorporate any successful actions into the implementation planning for other initiatives.
• Utilize your best project management resources. If your organization does not have project management best practices in place, hire a training team. Not only does everyone benefit from learning project management skills, but project management is the foundation of effective delivery on your strategy goals.
· Establish a consistent tracking and monitoring program to facilitate understanding of overall status on achieving your strategic goals.
• Ensure that each goal has a primary owner and a secondary owner. Someone must be the point person for the various activities associated with the implementation plan. Without ownership, there is no accountability.
• Introduce a dashboard or a balanced scorecard to help track and monitor the status of the overall strategic plan.
• Proactively schedule status meetings with the primary and secondary owners, the leadership team, the strategy committee, and staff to review the progress and/or challenges related to the strategic efforts.
• Use the Lessons Learned approach to review the successes and challenges of the strategic efforts and foster an environment based on continuous improvement. Strategic plans cannot be static; the efforts must be fluid due to ever-changing business climates and external environmental factors.
The takeaway? Don’t forget to learn from your experiences, adjust your approach, and implement your plan accordingly. Achieving your strategic goals depends on everyone in the organization understanding how their contributions will drive the organization to achieve success with the strategy. Ensure that you have the support plan in place to make the strategic activities effective and meaningful to your organization. In doing so, you will be well on your way to removing the barriers identified by the Economist survey.
You can do it. I know you can.