The goal of planning is not the plan. The plan is useless without execution, but it seems that very few organizations get that part right.
One daunting statistic cited by The Harvard Business Review reveals that two-thirds to three quarters of large organizations struggle to implement their strategies. Other studies have reported that the number could be as high as 90 percent. One of the main reasons for this is that execution is not effectively written into the plan.
A clear vision and strategy are fundamental to business success, and these need to be communicated across your organization. It is not enough to just tell people what to do; you want to make sure they are on board and involved in the process.
So much can be said about how to build your vision and strategy, but I want to focus on what comes next because it cannot stop there. These four key elements of execution need to be part of your plan: Numerical Targets, SWOT Analysis, Current Strategic Projects, and Key Performance Indicators.
Numerical Targets should be aligned with your three-to-five-year strategic moves. They should be tangible measurements, something your employees will understand. In situations where it is feasible, it is more beneficial to use the number of products/services sold as targets instead of revenue dollars. You should review and update your targets quarterly to reflect reality.
The SWOT Analysis is a fundamental part of execution because it provides the knowledge required to choose your most important Strategic Projects. This also needs to be updated quarterly so you stay on top of changes and make strategic decisions based on your current reality. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths and Weaknesses are internal, and Opportunities and Threats are external. It is important to be specific when identifying these in your plan. You want to develop your strategic projects to address the issues uncovered by the SWOT Analysis.
Strategic Projects are the three projects your organization will complete in the coming quarter to move you toward your three-to-five-year strategic goals. Anything that does not make this list for the quarter should not be directly worked on. This is how you improve focus and make progress toward your short- and long-term goals. Assign someone in the organization to oversee each project and ensure the project is completed. Weekly tasks should also be delegated.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the tasks each area does every day to realize results. What does each person do to make sales, improve customer service, and bring in new customers, etc.? For example, how many calls does your employee have to make each day to reach his/her sales goal for the week? Keeping track of these activities provides insight into each area’s productivity and provides insight into what is going right and what is going wrong.
These four elements are essential to execution of your strategy, and they are a part of the Results.com One Page Strategic Plan. The Results.com One Page Strategic Plan includes 15 sections in three parts (Vision, Strategy, and Execution), as well as videos, articles, and workbooks that teach you the best practices of the world’s most successful firms. With up to eight users and real-time KPIs, the Results.com One Page Strategic Plan software is a platform for communication of your strategic plan, including your execution strategy.
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Michael Gidlewski is President of West Chester-based Achievement Unlimited, Inc., as well as a growth catalyst and motivational speaker. He works with motivated business owners and entrepreneurs to clearly define the elements of what they dearly want their businesses and lives to look like, then helps them connect all the moving parts that make up those visions to consistent action and habits. Michael can be reached at 610-793-6609 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.