Strategic Planning: Dreams, Nightmares or Reality? Final Day

Here’s an important question that I rarely see addressed: How will we respond to underperformance in achieving the objectives of our strategic plan? By not answering this question, there is no established accountability for the plan. Not establishing accountability makes it easy to sweep strategic activities under the rug, thus negatively impacting the credibility of the strategic plan and those who are responsible for championing it within the organization. If you fail to establish accountability for success, then your strategic plans face an almost certain risk of not being realized.

Tip #8: Know your obstacles and mitigation plans.

Even the best made plans can experience obstacles. Often, I see leaders plan for everything to go right. But if you want your plans to become reality, then you will need to know how to respond to obstacles when they present themselves. Obstacles can include budget constraints, competing priorities, organizational resistance to change, resources, lack of executive buy-in, lack of technical capabilities, or a deficiency in the standard methodologies needed to successfully execute work. Take the time to identify the obstacles you foresee as having the ability to impede your plans, and identify actions that can mitigate those obstacles. Incorporate the mitigation plans into your detailed planning activities to ensure your strategy continues to move forward.

 Tip #9: Build detailed plans to support the execution of your strategy.

This is where the nightmare often begins. Without detailed plans, your strategy is nothing more than words on paper. Think about it this way; each strategic objective in your plan involves categories of work, related tasks, resources and time required to actually execute your plans. Without this information, you will struggle to organize around your work, and ultimately find yourself stuck in the nightmare of underperformance or even failure in achieving your strategic objectives. The ripple effects of this nightmare destroy the credibility of your strategic plan, and can even harm your credibility as a leader.  Do all you can to avoid this nightmare!

Tip #10: Execute your plans.

Once your detailed planning is complete, it’s time to put your strategy to action! This is where all your hard work becomes reality!

Conclusion

So, if you follow these important tips, what’s in it for you? The answer is simple: You reap the benefits of demonstrating command in the development and execution of your strategic plan, which ultimately builds your credibility to gain buy-in, approval and ongoing support in future strategic planning efforts. Why would any leader want to miss out on that opportunity?

Written by Corinne Sinnegen and Shalyn Eyer