"To succeed, a company needs a robust strategy vigorously executed. Strategy is the cerebral side of success. The other side is hands-on implementation of strategy. Implementation puts a premium on a responsive organization and its culture."
............. Evan Dudlik, Strategic Renaissance
Strategy is about planning and execution. Without action, a
company's intentions simply wither and decay. It's like a newly planted tree that's never watered. Unrealized plans can create a culture of defeat. To achieve competitive success, you need both plan and execution, thought and action. Creating and implementing a solid strategic plan need not be difficult -- if a company sidesteps some basic implementation
barriers with proactive steps:
* Strategic Management: Treat strategic planning as an ongoing process, not an isolated annual event. Develop a structure to regularly track and reinforce goal activities -- in order to keep the plan "on target" throughout the year.
* Balancing strategic objectives:
Years ago, companies evaluated success based solely on the attainment of financial goals. Today's business leaders assess their organizations from diverse perspectives (financial, customer, business process and organizational growth), creating a more balanced approach for judging performance.
* People support what they help create: Gain employee "buy-in" to the strategic process by encouraging participation, contribution and leadership.
* Judiciously focus on the essentials: Trying to "fix everything" at one time can dilute the focus and possible achievement of the most important goals. Focus on a manageable number of key objectives to create more opportunities for success.
* Visible Scoreboards: Establish a clear set of measures for each area of focus -- and make sure people know about them. Use scorecards as vehicles to communicate company direction and as tools for motivating change.
* Intertwine strategic and daily activities: Strategic activities often play second fiddle to day-to-day fire-fighting work demands. Aligning daily and strategic activities creates ongoing overall momentum for goal achievement.
* New competencies and skills don't magically appear: Do individuals have the know-how to successfully expedite strategic plans or initiatives? Help employees acquire the competencies and skills needed for performance success such as: team dynamics, conflict management and group-based decision making.
* Simplify: Strategic planning doesn't require a fancy process. Have a practical program that's easy to understand and aligns well with the company vision, mission, values and culture.
Coaches facilitate and reinforce the strategic planning process when:
> A company has little experience in strategic planning.
> Previous strategic planning was not successful.
> No one in the company has sufficient facilitation skills to propel the process.
> An insider facilitator may inhibit individual participation.
> Objectivity is needed.