A strategic plan outlines your vision for the future and maps out the goals and milestones to get there. There has likely been a lot of thought and energy put into the creation of your strategy – and now it is time to put it to the test and see how it performs.
“The strategy is put to the test in execution. We assume that unknown factors and unexpected events will arise. To turn these challenges into opportunities, delivery must be nimble and responsive.”
The Perform stage brings together the three previous stages – Evaluate, Define and Strategize. In this phase we put our hypothesis to the test and determine through post measurement if they were indeed correct and whether our strategy connects with the intended audience. It is one of the most interesting phases of a strategic plan as you get to see your strategy come to life! In this week’s blog post we are looking at key elements of putting a strategic plan in to action.
Keep Objectives Top of Mind
One of the most critical things to remember when putting your plan into action is to go back and look at your objectives. Why? The last phase of a strategic plan, Measurement, is just around the corner. Our Group President and CEO James Chalmers says;
“As you start the Perform phase, keep objectives top of mind and constantly be thinking about whether the current delivery of the strategy and tactics is going to meet or exceed these targets. A campaign that is failing is easy to spot. What I will always challenge teams on is “Did we identify it was going to fail in time or did we miss cues?” If we are actively engaged in managing details, we can usually see indications of poor performance before it is too late.”
Anticipate the Unexpected
Each project is unique – therefore it is critical to stay adaptable and flexible to be able to adjust accordingly to any shifts in the course of the project. The Perform phase will undoubtedly reveal problems or issues. Being prepared to pivot and make tactical changes is key. A well-defined strategy takes the unexpected into account, however, we all know things do not always go to plan the way we intended. Understanding how to capitalize on unforeseen circumstances is an incredibly challenging task. When done right, it can be a game changer for an organization.
Celebrate the Wins
While it is crucial to anticipate problems that may arise – it is just as important to pause and appreciate your success along the way! Being able to acknowledge, reward and celebrate wins keeps team members motivated and invested in the process. It is a task that many overlook, with tight deadlines and to-do’s it can be easy to look past the success you are having and move on to the next thing. Executing a strategic plan takes time and energy which makes it an important time to boost morale and acknowledge team efforts.
Execution is all about doing what you said you would do when you were busy planning your strategy! It is no secret that many strategic plans can fail to deliver their intended results. Staying aligned to objectives, anticipating the unexpected and regularly celebrating your wins are keys to the success of a project.
“Strategy without process is a little more than a wish list.” Robert Filek