Having a good strategy is one thing, executing it well can be a huge challenge.
Many business owners and managers are familiar with the scenario – you arrange a strategy day with your team, capture the outputs and create a strategic plan. Everyone goes back to the office, the strategy paper gets filed and that is the last you see of it until next year’s strategy day. The hardest part of any business strategy is implementation.
Once you have created your strategy, you need to start engaging with your organisation. The communication process is key and needs to be two-way. You need to create a mechanism for people in your firm to feed back their view.
Once you have your feedback and have finalised your strategic plan, the next step is to start creating tangible objectives.
Each objective should have a dedicated owner (who is responsible and accountable), a deadline and regular updates on progress towards each goal should be provided at, for example, a monthly meeting.
Tracking and reporting are key components of executing any strategy. Monthly updates should be provided by the people responsible for each objective and should include a quantitative measure of progress and a short commentary to add background information about progress to date, expected timeline for delivery, resources required for the next stage, and so on.
Performance management is also key to successfully implementing your strategy. Your team need to be accountable and you need to create a connection between the strategic objectives of the business and your team member’s day jobs. Each person on your team should have a set of objectives which cascade from the overall company objectives that are set out in your strategy document. Aligning the objectives of each individual with the overall goals of your business ensures that your whole team is working towards the same common goal. You should measure and reward people for their contribution to achieving the firm’s strategy. This encourages the right behaviours among your team.
Executing your strategy isn’t a process. It is about developing a culture in your firm where everyone is working towards a common set of goals. At the end of each year, you should evaluate your strategy, keep the bits that are working well and update those parts that haven’t been so successful.