From Strategy To Execution: 3 Best Practices To Get You Started

Your strategy isn’t going to accomplish itself. Keep these best practices in mind and the process will go smoothly.

Joseph, Director of Customer Success at ClearPoint, has over 10 years of experience working with customers to create efficient performance management and strategy execution processes.

This is the time of year you likely have goal planning on your mind. You may be considering what worked and what didn’t over the last year as well as what different projects you want to either include or boot from your strategic plan. Whatever way you look at it, a new calendar year usually brings about a lot of change.

Is your reporting more difficult than it needs to be? It’s time to track down and conquer the monsters lurking in your organization.

But with this change, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed with going from strategy to execution. Consider these points before moving forward.

From Strategy To Execution: 3 Best Practices To Get You Started

1. Hold a strategy execution meeting.

Around this time of year, you may be having (or have already had) your annual meeting to report last year’s results. But we highly recommend following this meeting with another focused specifically on strategy execution. This second meeting will probably involve whoever is leading the strategy and a few key stakeholders, but not the whole leadership team.

During this strategy execution meeting, you’ll want to look at the following:

  • What worked really well last year? What did not work well? Note that it will likely be easier to answer the second question than the first, but you’ll want to focus heavily on both.
  • Look at the meetings you had throughout the year: Was the information you examined throughout the year actually helpful? Was it being used to make decisions, or was it just a readout of numbers?
  • If you had a three-year strategic plan that is coming to an end, you may want to extend it to a five-year plan.
  • If your plan is a bit more mature, and you’re finding yourselves a bit complacent in its execution, you’ll want tothink about what you’ll do this year to improve. For example, if you’re a municipality, you may want to create a community dashboard that will allow you to share more information and increase transparency with your citizens. Or, if you’re not ready for that, you may consider publishing some PDFs online for people to access.

2. Take immediate action after that meeting.

The details and information that come from this meeting will help you determine your next steps. Because every organization (and its strategic plan) is unique, it’s difficult to generalize what you may need to do during this phase. You might need to create a software selection committee, or you may need to have individual department meetings about improving or changing performance metrics—it all depends on your priorities.

You’ll likely want to:

  • Make sure your goals are still applicable.
  • Make sure your measures are still good.
  • Make sure your projects are still high-quality.
  • Step back and take a look at your processes to figure out what is or is not working.

3. Begin utilizing strategy execution software.

Many organizations use spreadsheets to hone in on year-end strategic reviews. If this sounds familiar, you may be gearing up to create another one for this year. But you also may have realized throughout your meeting that you’re trapped in reporting through PowerPoint or Excel. If so, it may be time to look at strategy execution software.

High-quality software is helpful is a number of ways:

  • It allows you to collect historical information and keep all of that information—year over year—in one place.
  • It makes version control a cinch, as all measure and project owners can update their changes directly to the software.
  • It allows you to create a strategy map so you and other departments can better visualize your strategy going forward.

A Word Of Advice

Be conscious of where you’re at in your strategy execution process, and keep in mind that your progress will be gradual. Your strategic plan will look quite a bit different in year one than it will in year four!

Also, be sure you aren’t being too aggressive with your plan. It’s certainly possible to revamp your strategic plan, integrate software, and do a community dashboard all in the next year—but make sure you have organizational capacity and personal bandwidth. Be bold, but don’t be foolish.

If you could use a hand with consolidating your reporting process, check out this free guide. It’ll help you identify people (i.e., “monsters”) in your organization that slow this process down and teach you how to overcome specific issues with those individuals.

From Strategy To Execution: 3 Best Practices To Get You Started