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Accountability is the cornerstone of effective strategic planning implementation

David Fuller

Imagine spending days in a room with people you may not care to know that well and finding out later it was all a waste of time because the plan you decided upon was never implemented. This happens after many strategic planning sessions.

Plans work when they engage your staff and create a framework that guides your team to the brighter future you envision.

A plan doesn’t have to be complex, but having a strategic focus for upcoming years can be a roadmap for your staff to improve outcomes for your customers and your teams.

Here are four reasons that strategic planning often fails and what you should do if you want yours to succeed.

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No clear goals with specific outcomes or reasons for achieving them

Often, what’s created in strategic planning are well-meaning but blurry and vague goals. Creating clear goals with specific outcomes lets us see what we’re trying to achieve.

We often also forget to identify and record why we want to achieve those goals. As author Simon Sinek so aptly said, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

This rings true in the marketplace and your work environment. Clearly explaining why is more important than the strategy itself. Your team will continuously work to implement new and emerging strategies to achieve your goals if you explain why they’re so important in the first place.

Planning often misaligns with the day-to-day activities of the firm

Most organizations create a plan and then shelve it.

For effective strategic plans to be implemented, there needs to be alignment between the plan and day-to-day activities.

There’s a lack of accountability to ensure the strategy is followed

If you want to be successful, you need to name people and positions responsible for ensuring the plan will be implemented.

There are no timelines and check-ins

For strategic planning to be effective, time must be set aside to review the progress. Without regularly scheduled check-ins, the best-laid plans can fail as issues demanding your attention immediately arise once you arrive back at the office after your strategic retreat.

Scheduling regular reviews refreshes your focus and reduces the chances that short-term thinking to resolve immediate problems will derail your plans.

Strategic planning can be fun. It’s great to throw some goals up against the wall like mud and see what sticks. That’s how most strategic planning is done.

Unfortunately, when the mud dries, it often drops off and is forgotten.

If you want to succeed with your strategic plans, you may need to put as much effort into the implementation as you did into the imagination.

Dave Fuller is a Commercial and Business Realtor, an award-winning business coach, and a business author.

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