Large and small organizations alike need a strategic plan to not only grow, but grow efficiently. As Yogi Berra famously said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there”; wise words indeed. While establishing goals and mapping out the tactical steps needed to meet those goals is the crucial first step in taking control of your organization’s future, implementation of a strategic plan can be a far greater challenge. According to a recent Harvard Business Review study, 75% of organizations struggle to implement their strategic plans. There are any number of pitfalls an organization may encounter that can hamper the execution of a strategic plan. Following are examples of just two of the potential challenges an organization may experience.
Accountability: Call it “buy-in” or “alignment”—it comes down to the same thing. There is a greater likelihood of success when everyone understands the organization’s goals, and how their role contributes to meeting those goals. Having a stake in the outcome, or a sense of ownership, incentivizes employees to remain focused on the big picture and not become mired in the minutiae of the day-to-day business as usual.
Visibility: It’s critical to develop the discipline of keeping the plan a priority and not allowing it to fall to the back burner where it languishes, or worse, is forgotten. It is easy for employees to get sidetracked by more time-sensitive, daily operations and lose sight of the master plan. Busy is good, busy means growth; but it’s important to consciously keep the plan top of mind through regular meetings and updates. Don’t fall victim to “out of sight, out of mind.”
From branding to widgets, service companies to manufacturing, the need for strategy and execution are universal. In order to grow, you need to have a plan, and you need to execute that plan using the tools that work best for your organization. If you don’t, you may find yourself subject to another Yogi-ism, “It’s deja vu all over again.”