~ 4 MIN READ
11 Expert Tips On Getting Your Strategy Implementation To Stick
Successfully transition from plan ideation to execution with these pieces of advice from strategy experts in a variety of industries.
All the hard work you put into creating a strategic plan is only half the battle. Next, you have to put that strategy into action, which is arguably the hardest part. Many organizations with the best intentions find their plan cracks under pressure during the implementation phase… or sits on a shelf gathering dust.
To help you successfully transition from plan ideation to execution, we gathered practical, real-world advice from strategy experts in a variety of industries. Here are their top tips on how to get your strategy implementation to stick:
1. Break it down.
“One of the best ways to execute a strategy is to break it down into smaller action items. Each action item will serve as a piece of the pie that brings your overall strategy to life. Each action item needs to be tied to a deadline; someone responsible for meeting that deadline; and an overarching figure to ensure the team is meeting deadlines and that progress is being monitored.”
Marketing & Sales Director, Enola Labs
2. Figure out what needs to be delegated.
“Identify what parts of the plan only you can implement. Then figure out what needs to be delegated and find the best people to delegate those tasks to. Work with your team to set clear deadlines for each of your mini-objectives.”
Founder & CEO of MattressInsider.com
3. Link spending and strategic priorities.
“Align finances with the plan. Few other missteps create more setbacks than failing to match spending to strategic priorities. This linkage should be done immediately and sustained through every budget cycle going forward during implementation.”
Executive Career Development Consultant & Author, WGHinHR
4. Set a deadline you can’t miss.
“What we have seen to be very effective when it comes to implementing strategies is associating a deadline with them that can't be missed. For example, if you’ve decided to launch a new product and want it to launch by the end of the year, then buy your ticket for that big conference early next year where you will be presenting the product. You better launch your product by then or you won't be looking very professional.”
David Mitroff, Ph.D.
Founder, Piedmont Avenue Consulting, Inc.
Has your implementation stalled? This 41-page toolkit explains how to successfully execute your strategy.
5. Introduce the plan in writing and in person.
“I believe the best way to get strategy implementations to stick is to follow a few simple steps:
- Introduce the new plan to your company or team via email in a concise way.
- Hold a brief meeting to discuss the new strategic plan and explain the plan verbally.
- Wait a few days for the plan to sink in and then summarize via another email.
- Explain how you will measure success and then share the measurements.
- Schedule a follow-up meeting for questions and feedback.
All this can take place in one week—it ensures introduction of the plan via writing and in-person, then a way of measuring, then follow-up with measurements, and then allows for engagement with the team.”
6. Communicate responsibilities.
“Communicate each team member's responsibility for maintaining the strategic plan as soon as it is formed through company meetings and one-on-ones. Set up KPIs to make sure everyone is on track, and regularly meet with team members to see how progress is moving.”
CEO, The Content Factory
7. Make decisions as a team & share lessons.
“Have open, honest, candid, and direct conversations that are tough on the issues and respectful of the people. (Don’t say it in the hall if you didn’t say it at the table.) Decisions made in the room must be publicly supported outside the room. No pocket vetoes, and if decisions need to be reconsidered, they must be brought back to the team.
Rapidly share lessons that are uncovered in success or failure—support and encourage telling the truth about execution without being executed.”
CEO and Chief Client Fanatic, Root, Inc.
Progress & Results
8. Make sure your goals are actionable and measurable.
“Make sure your strategy contains actionable, measurable items to determine progress. ‘Increase positive consumer responses by 25 percent by the end of the third quarter’ is more direct than ‘Improve customer experience.’ Use of a balanced scorecard, or any other system, will continuously remind everyone within the organization of their new goals.”
Owner, Buffalo Consults
9. Hold monthly sprints.
“In our practice, we hold monthly sprints to oversee the progress of implementation so it delivers the results leaders expect. Leaders are accountable for proactively addressing who manages the programs that drive change as well as the emerging gaps and challenges that may impact strategy execution.”
Engagement Manager, The PNR
10. Try color-coded KPI tracking.
“We used to have problems with execution of our strategic plans. We realized that we weren't quantifying our results enough for each team, so we implemented a key performance indicator (KPI) system in accordance to each team and its workflows with the following color system:
- Green: Exceptional!
- Blue: Great
- Yellow: Room for improvement
- Red: Terrible
This color determines the performance of each team on a daily basis. If the team hits yellow, they must discuss internally how to improve the KPI score; if it's red, they have to urgently make changes to improve the score for the next day. Since implementing this KPI system, company performance and execution times have dramatically improved.”
11. Constantly monitor if the plan is working.
“Conduct regular progress reports: Some companies spend a lot of time creating big, beautiful strategies which are presented then never seen or heard of again. We are constantly reiterating our mission and strategy at weekly team meetings attended by everyone, whether they are full-time, part-time, or a contractor. We also use this time to check progress so we can constantly be monitoring if the plan is working; and if not, discuss reasons why and what we can do to turn it around.”
Country Manager, Finder.com
Make your strategic plan stick.
These experts couldn’t have said it any better. The keys include communication, monitoring, meeting, reporting, and making sure the strategy is measurable and linked to your budget. At ClearPoint, our software supports all of these approaches, and we’ve seen our clients achieve great things while executing their strategy. Join our community of pioneers and experts as they share additional best practices.