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Five Things you Can Do to Turn your Strategy into Reality (or how to make sure your strategic plan d

This is a common problem for many organizations – they invest in developing a strategic plan, get the “document” in place, and pretty much forget about it.  That’s not doing anyone any good!

What typically happens next is the business leaders say, “we invested in a strategic plan once before and it didn’t help us out.”  And therefore they don’t want to invest in creating a new strategic plan (even though their employees are begging for a little more direction, and consistency in business practices, and the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach is not sustainable, etc.).


The major fail often occurs because the plan they “put in-place” was not integrated with their systems!  You can’t expect your team to magically remember that they should be working towards certain strategic goals and objectives without providing a trigger.  Here are five things you can do to turn your strategy into reality and make sure that your strategic plan directs action instead of becoming an expensive dust collector.

  1. Re-visit the strategic plan regularly – Add “review strategic plan” to the agenda for staff/executive meetings (monthly at most or quarterly at least).  Assess how things are progressing, what goals have been met, missed, and what goals are a priority to address.  Sometimes this conversation will take all of 10-15 minutes while other times it’ll last an hour or longer.  Either way, it is a valuable conversation to have as it ensures everyone is on the same page with a shared vision.

  2. Set personal goals that align with your strategic plan – Whether you have your employees set monthly or annual goals (or both), ask them to include specific references between their goals and the organization’s strategic priorities.

  3. Lead by example – If you want your employees to do something that you’re not willing to do yourself, guess what happens……They will follow your actions and not your words.

  4. Address changes in your strategy – update your strategic plan as changes develop.  Consider your strategy a living and breathing document, not one that is a static PDF that never changes.  While it is not advisable to completely change course w/ your strategic plan, unexpected outcomes inherently occur in organizations and you should be ready and able to address how those circumstances alter your strategy.

  5. Create visuals – summarize your priority goals and objectives, or milestone achievements into a visual aid that can be easily displayed at workstations.  I like to provide a one page timeline for clients that outlines the milestones they’re working towards and encourage them to tack it to the wall above their desks.  That way they have a visual trigger that is literally in front of them and serves to remind them of their priorities.

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