Most of us have experience with setting personal goals. We set a goal – for example, buying a house. With that end goal in mind, we evaluate where we are (our “current state”) and what it will take to reach our goal. After that, we can formulate a plan (saving money, monthly budgeting, house hunting, etc., for example) to reach our goal.
When we work with organizations to create their strategic plan, the process is similar. The leaders look at the current state (where the organization is today) and where the organization wants (or needs) to be, and then the team works together to develop the big goals and step goals we need to reach so we can bridge the gap.
Our strategic planning process takes less than two days. It’s a powerful, exciting, and successful two days of collaboration and planning for teams. The challenge? Keeping that excitement and momentum going throughout the year, when teams execute on their strategic plans. Similar to those personal goals, we always set out with the best intentions – sometimes though, we get distracted or derailed.
It’s a common issue, which is why we’ll often become an accountability partner for our clients, partnering with them throughout the year to help them stay on track, tackle challenges, and reach their milestones. In our experience, there are five keys to keeping the momentum going on your strategic plan throughout the year:
1. Be specific. Create goals that are radically clear to everyone involved.
2. Own it. Each goal should have an “owner”. The owner is responsible for creating an action plan that will result in the successful achievement of the goal. The action plan should include clearly define tasks and deadlines.
3. Don’t do it alone. While the goal owner has ultimate responsibility for the achievement of the goal, the owner should leverage the skills and talents of their team members by assigning them tasks within the action plan as appropriate.
4. Meet regularly. The group should create a rhythm of accountability so that the group meets regularly to review progress, address obstacles, and recognize milestones. We find that a brief monthly update meeting combined with quarterly in-depth progress meetings work well to keep everyone on track.
5. Celebrate success. When milestones are reached, celebrate! When the goal is achieved, celebrate again! Keeping the momentum going isn’t easy --- so celebrate as a team to help keep everyone motivated.
While keeping the momentum going throughout the year is a challenge, the results are so rewarding! Seeing a strategic plan come to life, teams aligned and working on goals together, and real progress on a strategy are just a few of the rewards that make it all worth it. Witnessing your organization grow and transform is the ultimate reward, and possible only if you stay the course and work your strategic plan throughout the year.
For more tips on keeping your strategic plan alive throughout the year, listen to our podcast!