Don’t Collect Dust…Create Lasting Impact: A Guide to Implementing Your Strategic Plan
A common criticism of the strategic planning process is that it produces a document that ultimately collects dust on the office shelf. If not intentional about how it intends to implement the plan, an organization could neglect critical components of the document, as well as the overall purpose of the exercise itself.
Patton McDowell & Associates offers up seven guidelines to foster a successful implementation of your strategic plan:
1. Involve the people who will be responsible for implementing the strategic plan from the beginning of the planning process. Use a cross-functional team to ensure the plan is collaborative, applicable and realistic.
2. Delineate the strategic plan into smaller action plans – perhaps creating one for each board/staff committee – and specify roles, responsibilities and deadlines with a particular focus on the first 90 days and regular implementation checkpoints.
3. Integrate the strategic plan into job descriptions and personnel performance reviews.
4. Communicate, communicate, communicate! Document and distribute the strategic plan, invite constant input, and reinforce the regular review of actions plans.
5. Designate ownership of the strategic plan and the responsibility of enacting it in a timely fashion to a single, internal person. Perhaps the executive director or board chair is best suited and should integrate the plan’s goals and objectives into his/her own performance review.
6. Prioritize the stages of the plan. Strategic plans are set to be multi-year processes. Do not feel that your organization needs to implement the entire plan in the first year. Set reasonable and attainable goals for the organization and the members of the team.
7. Acknowledge results. If accomplishments are not recognized, members of the organization might not realize that stages of the plan have been met, or might think the results are worthy of being recognized. Appreciation of work accomplished will help for later stages to be successful as well.