How To Successfully Implement Your New Strategy

Breathe life into your strategy in four easy steps.

Ted, Founder and Managing Partner at ClearPoint, has over 25 years of experience working with organizations to improve their performance management and strategy execution processes.

Let’s get one thing out in the open: Creating a new strategy is daunting. No one likes to admit that, but it’s true. You and your team have looked five years in the future and devised a plan that is exactly where you hope to be: Your new revenues are projected to be three times higher, profits will be five times higher, you expect to have a large number of new customers, and even several new services that haven’t been designed yet! These discussions are fun and exciting—but they can be a little intimidating when you consider how you’ll get there.

Sometimes you look back on your old strategic plan and wonder if the things you achieved were luck. You don’t recall setting targets or focusing on making things happen. In fact, I once had a client tell me that they achieved much of their strategy just through an improving economy, not by actually focusing on the strategy. Hoping for good trade winds—or creating a strategic plan and allowing it to collect dust on a shelf—is not a way to control your destiny and ensure strategic execution.

But while nine out of 10 organizations fail to execute strategy, yours doesn’t have to be one of them! If you’re putting tens or hundreds of hours into strategic planning, you can breathe life into it through a successful implementation. To do so, here are the steps you’ll need to take for successful strategy execution.

How To Successfully Implement Your New Strategy

1. Assign accountability.

Someone needs to be responsible for every piece of your strategy. Strategy execution should be directly connected to an employee’s job responsibilities so he or she feels a sense of ownership. That being said, one person should not be solely responsible for meeting the overall strategy. If everyone works on their particular aspects, the strategy will come together in the end. Holding regular strategy review meetings will help ensure that each individual is focusing on the right things, and that as a leadership team, you are providing appropriate supporting resources to the things that are most important to you.

2. Break down your targets.

This is a critical step that cannot be overlooked. If you want to triple your revenue in five years, do you know the steps you’re going to take to accomplish this goal? Will you see big gains in years one and two and have to grind out the last few years, or will you need to make some investments in the first few years and hold out for the big payoff in years four and five?

How To Successfully Implement Your New Strategy

Depending on your answer to this question, your target will differ. See the gap in the target lines in year two of this example chart? If your assumptions are correct, you will know if you’re on track to achieving your ultimate goals. Marketing, for example, tends to take longer to have an impact (i.e. the lower target line), whereas a company-wide reorganization or collection effort may look a lot more like the top line in this chart.

3. Consider where your funds are allocated.

To ensure your new strategy is successfully implemented, you need to invest in your strategy. You’ll want to take a close at where you spend your resources and make sure that you’re allocating the proper funds to your strategy. If your budget for next year looks like business as usually, you shouldn’t expect anything different than business as usual.

4. Get backing from the leadership team.

Getting any process up and running is nearly always met with resistance, simply because people don’t like change. Keep in mind that an individual can run through the first few steps in this process and mechanically design the new strategy without significant involvement from the leadership team. But in order to start executing on the strategy, you’ll need a great deal of involvement across the organization. So while leadership is critical to this process, onboarding management too early may have an adverse reaction.

Tip: You may feel unsure about adding yet another meeting to your leadership’s agenda—but it doesn’t have to be that way. This is an opportunity to have the team halt meetings on topics that are not related to the strategy and refocus meeting time on areas that are of critical strategic importance.

In Summary

If you’re just getting this process up and running, you may be tempted to manage your strategy in Microsoft Word or Excel. (Or you may know how difficult it is to do just that!) Before you become overwhelmed with trying to mold your strategy into a spreadsheet or a document processing tool, remember that there are software options capable of helping you through this process.

How To Successfully Implement Your New Strategy