Strategic plans – the implementation process

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Strategic plans – the implementation process –

leadership and management courses – general management courses – executive leadership training programmes   Book now and read on!

Effective implementation of strategic plans is essential for any organisation’s success.  Among recommended procedures are getting started early and creating consensus around the goals and objectives of strategic plans.

Effective implementation of strategic plans is essential to the success of any organisation, but it is not as simple as it looks. A 2018 management research study concluded that only 20 to 30 percent of corporate strategic plans are ever completed. For smaller businesses, it may just be inexperience with seeing them through. Enrol now on one of BOTI’s leadership and management courses – general management courses – executive leadership training programmes!

leadership and management courses, general management courses and executive leadership training programmes

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Getting Started Early

Broad agreement exists among leadership and management professionals that implementation needs to begin as the strategic plan is created. Getting started early does several things: It introduces implementation language and concepts into corporate life in time for both to become a familiar and well-understood.

Commitment and Consensus

Getting employees, especially key personnel, to buy into the plan – to become fully committed to it early on – is essential. The implementation process begins with communicating the plan throughout the organisation. It needs to be made clear that the plan is consistent with the organisation’s vision and general business strategy and that the plan has broad approval from the board of directors to department managers. A frequent issue with the implementation of strategic plans is that middle managers, absent some clear and timely reinforcement to the contrary, often conclude that senior management no longer cares about implementing the plan. Another issue is that only about a quarter of corporations provide meaningful incentives for meeting strategic plan benchmarks and goals.

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Paying the Costs

Nearly all strategic plans come with a cost. Yet, most strategic plans are rolled out without any direct connection to budgeting. An unfunded strategic plan is only a wishlist. Implementation requires an understanding of plan costs and institutional commitment to its funding. Plans need to come with funding in place.

Relation to External Conditions

Every strategic plan is responsive to external conditions, directly or indirectly. Changes in external conditions – the economy, supply costs, labor or other issues – can make the plan’s implementation unnecessary, no longer strategic or impossible to achieve. Acknowledgment of these parameters should be built into the plan’s rollout so that everyone knows that the plan includes responses to external conditions.

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Establishing Benchmarks

Every plan has objectives, but not all plans contain enough information about achieving them. Two common deficiencies are:

  • Establishment of benchmarks
  • Establishment of oversight practices

Establishing benchmarks and oversight practices are closely related. Oversight confirms that benchmarks are being achieved according to schedule. The presence of monitoring activities also sends employees a message that the plan is still in place and remains important.

Building in Updates and Revisions

One way of insuring that a strategic plan continues to be relevant is to build periodic reviews of all the plan’s essential features into the implementation of the plan: goals, benchmarks and monitoring. A plan shouldn’t be evergreen; it needs to be viewed as a contemporary document. Strategic plans work best when they are time-limited, with a major review, often with a new rollout, at least once a year.

 

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  • Here are some known issues with plan implementations:
    • Lack of reinforcement of long-term goals
    • Strategic plans treated as separate from daily operations
    • Plans that are overwhelming and need to be pruned to be made achievable
    • Insufficient progress reports: Achievement of benchmarks always needs to be noted.
    • Employees not given sufficient authority to implement the plan
    • Employees not given sufficient means to implement the plan

Tip

  • Using one of the strategic plan conception and implementation templates available on the internet removes a lot of uncertainty and makes it easier to benchmark and monitor plan progress. Some are free in exchange for your contact information; others have either a one-time fee or a monthly charge.

You will discover so much more when you enrol on one of BOTI’s leadership and management courses, general management courses and executive leadership training programmes.

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