Tag Archives: execution of plans

Overseeing Implementation Of Strategies

Over the last 2 months I’ve received the national plans or national objectives from 70 different countries for our organization, along with plans from 11 regional leadership teams. This is a record for us. So, what next?

These plans vary from a summary of the philosophy of their work, to short list of objectives, through lists of key action items, to comprehensive lists of key actions with dates, resources and finances allocated. However, the important thing is not the plan, but the execution of the plan.

So, if you are a leader, how are you going to ensure that the plan gets executed?

Different teams are taking different approaches, for example:

  • Some teams have taken a “4 Disciplines of Execution” approach, with weekly reviews of lead measurements, lag measurements, and actions.
  • Other teams are holding bi-weekly reviews of progress towards targets.
  • Other teams plan to hold monthly reviews of completion of actions, and progress towards goals.
  • Other teams will review widely accessible dashboards.

The important thing is that progress is being monitored, and if insufficient progress is being made, that corrective action is taken. A long time ago I shared that I thought the hardest question that a leader can ask someone who is working with them is: Show me that you are making the most effective progress towards your goal. The implications of this being asked by a leader are that the leader will listen to an answer from time to time to see this “most effective progress”.

So, have you:

  • allocated regular time in your calendar to review progress against the plan in the coming year;
  • made this the priority in your calendar so that it does not get usurped by the urgent;
  • figured out how you are going to do this when you are travelling or otherwise away from your normal routine;
  • made sure that the team executing the plan has allocated time to review its progress with you over the coming year?

Ownership of a Strategy

A while back I was sitting in a meeting with a team of managers who had some of the best looking strategic plans that I had seen. The plans consisted of a thorough analysis of the situation, a clear SWOT analysis, well-defined goals and a set of actions that looked like they were (at least) a pretty good way to get from the current situation to the goals while avoiding identified pitfalls.

I asked two authors of the plans if they are following them.

They answered that they were not following them, and that they only provided the plans because their supervisors had asked for them. Ooops. The supervisors were in the room with the authors. A point was communicated to all of us.

Which would result in better use of planning time:

  1. a plan that has one line item that is critically important to achieving the Vision, that people subsequently work to implement over the planning period, or
  2. a perfect looking plan with all the right analysis, objectives and action steps that is subsequently not implemented?

How can we ensure ownership of plans by the people who are due to implement them? Please feel free to comment with answers to this question.