Strategic Planning (Part 3): Find the Groove
- An organization’s strategic plan needs a repeatable rhythm to drive execution
- A strategic plan without an execution plan is pointless
- Leaders must set aside devoted time to specifically focus on the execution of their strategic plan
This post is the third and final post in our series on strategic planning. In the first two posts, we talked about the importance of speed and simplicity in developing a strategic plan. Now, we’ll talk about the crucial topic of executing your strategic plan successfully.
Rhythm Holds it Together
Anyone with an ear for music will tell you that the rhythm is what holds it all together. It doesn’t matter how well we’re playing; if the rhythm is off, it all falls apart. Musicians will tell you that when they hit that “groove,” when they find that rhythm, magic happens.
Just like the band that needs to find that repeatable rhythm to put on a great show, an organization’s strategic plan needs a repeatable rhythm to drive execution. In business, a leader’s job is to create and sustain the beat that drives the plan forward.
Execution is Critical
A strategic plan without an execution plan is pointless. Don’t waste your time.
The antidote is the rhythm of accountability, and it truly is the steady beat that drives execution. Think of the typical strategic planning process: it’s not uncommon for an executive team to spend 80% of its time on the creation of the plan and 20% on the execution of the plan. We reverse that: 80% of our focus is on establishing the rhythm of accountability that’s going to help leaders hold themselves and their teams accountable for the execution of the plan. That’s how important the rhythm of accountability is.
Establish your Rhythm of Accountability
It’s not easy to keep a steady focus on execution. Leaders constantly get sucked into the whirlwind of daily activity, and it gets tough to pull away to focus on the strategy that will drive the company forward.
We recommend the leaders determine what their rhythm will be to pull themselves from the whirlwind. There needs to be devoted time set aside specifically to focus on the execution of the strategic plan. For example, establish a simple rhythm of a monthly one-hour update of plan progress (no operational talk allowed) and a quarterly half-day review about what’s working, what’s not, and where there needs to be a course correction. Simple visual reporting is best. Remember: “done is better than perfect.”
As a leader, you can determine your own rhythm, but we recommend empowering your leadership team to determine the schedule that’s going to drive execution forward. Once this rhythm is established, you’ll see the “band’ come together and the magic happen.
Want to learn more about our proven process for strategic planning and how to implement it within your organization? Check out our free guide “Strategy Clarity” to get all the details.