How to Make Strategic Planning Implementation Work

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In an earlier, popular article, you were given a strategic planning framework, samples, and examples for creating your organization’s mission statement, vision statement, values, and goals. Want to know more about strategic planning implementation now that you have created your strategic planning framework?

Strategic planning implementation is at the heart of how to make a change of any kind happen in your organization. Start by answering why your organization might want to embark on a strategic planning process and implementation.

Want to be one of the organizations, in which employees understand the mission and goals? They enjoy a 29% greater return than other firms. It seems like a good reason to start strategic planning implementation to me. How about you?

Keys to Strategic Planning Implementation Success

These are the keys to effective strategic planning implementation for your business.

If you are implementing your strategic planning in an organizational environment that is already employee-oriented, with a high level of trust, you start the strategic planning implementation with a huge plus. An additional plus is an organization that already thinks strategically.

Unfortunately, the implementation of strategic planning most frequently occurs as an organization moves from being traditionally reactionary to strategic. So, often, learning to think strategically is part of the strategic planning implementation learning curve.

Full and Active Executive Support for Successful Strategic Planning

Successful strategic planning implementation requires a large commitment from executives and senior managers, whether strategic planning is occurring in a department or a complete organization.

Executives must lead, support, follow-up, and live the results of the strategic planning implementation process. Or, the strategic planning implementation process will fail. It’s as simple as that.

Without the full commitment of the organization’s senior executives, don’t even start strategic planning. Participants will feel fooled and misled. A vision statement and a mission statement, along with this year’s goals, filed, unimplemented in a cabinet or computer, is a serious source of ​negativity and poor employee morale.

Creating a Strategic Planning Implementation Process

Senior leaders can do the following to create a successful strategic planning implementation process.

  • Establish a clear vision for the strategic planning implementation process. Paint a picture of where the organization will end up and the anticipated outcomes. Make certain the picture is one of reality and not what people “wish” would occur. Make sure key employees know “why” the organization is changing.
  • Appoint an executive champion or leader who “owns” the strategic planning implementation process and makes certain other senior managers, as well as other appropriate people in the organization, are involved.

Executive support in strategic planning implementation is critical to its success. Executives must lead, support, follow-up, and live the results of the strategic planning implementation process. These are additional ways executive leaders can support the strategic planning implementation process.

  • Pay attention to the planning occurring. Ask how things are going. Focus on progress and barriers to change management. One of the worst possible scenarios is to have the leaders ignore the strategic planning implementation.
  • Sponsor portions of the planning or the strategic planning process, as an involved participant, to increase active involvement and interaction with other organization members.
  • If personal or managerial actions or behaviors require change for the vision statement, mission statement, values, and goals to take hold in the organization, “model” the new behaviors and actions. (Senior managers must walk the talk.)
  • Establish a structure which will support the move to a more strategic thinking and acting organization. It may take the form of a Steering Committee, Leadership Group, Core Planning Team or Guiding Coalition.
  • Change the measurement systems, reward, and recognition systems to measure and reward the accomplishment of the new expectations established through the strategic planning process.
  • Develop a performance development planning process within your performance management system to communicate, reinforce, and provide a structure that supports the articulation and accomplishment of the strategic planning goals.
  • While every person cannot make their voices heard on every issue within the strategic planning, you must solicit and act upon feedback from other members of the organization. Integral to the strategic planning process must be the commitment of each executive to discuss the process and the plans with staff members. Too often, experienced executives hold information closely and consolidating their dysfunctional power within the organization at the expense of other company employees feeling – and acting – excluded. (And then they ask: how can I get my staff to “buy-in” to these new expectations?)
  • Recognize the human element inherent in any change – the change from reactionary to strategic thinking is a huge leap. People have different needs and different ways of reacting to change. They need time to deal with and adjust to change.
  • If training is part of the strategic plan, senior leaders must participate in the training that other organization members attend, but, even more importantly, they must exhibit their “learning” from the sessions, readings, interactions, tapes, books or research.
  • Lastly, and of immense significance, be honest and worthy of trust.

Throughout the strategic planning process, treat people with the same respect you expect from them. And you will enjoy the 29% greater return than non-strategic planning companies, predicted earlier. With your vision statement, mission statement, values, strategies, goals, and action plans developed and shared, you'll all win, both personally and professionally.