By Shannon Sage
Implementing Your Strategic Plan with Hard Work

Strategic planning thought:  “Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” – Peter Drucker

I often see this quote, as many of you probably do, when reading blogs/articles/research on strategic planning and implementation.  We use it ourselves and couldn’t agree with it more.  To be fair though, hard work is only going to get you so far with strategic planning.

I’m going to take this on a tangent, but stay with me.  There are frequently questions and discussions about the best tools/systems on Quora, LinkedIn and other sites.  Successful strategy leaders have a strategic planning methodology that works for them and leverage systems and strategy tools to build, implement and execute.  Having invested years into the development of a strategic management system in OnStrategy, we also place great emphasis on the strategy tools and system used as these are necessary.  The right tools have the ability to assist in the strategy development, reporting, communication, and finally in executing strategy.

The caveat to all of this is both hard work and strategy tools are only as good as the model built, in this case the strategic plan.  The success in strategic planning, implementation, and execution depends upon the commitment during the process and ensuring the correct framework/structure of the plan.

One of the trouble spots in developing the framework/structure that we see is in cascading the goals appropriately and linking the long-term vision with the daily actions.  If this area is flawed, then there will be weaknesses to the plan that a system can’t overcome nor can hard work.  Often times these areas will be fixed in time, but not without facing challenges (some big and some small).

Be sure to bring hard work to the table and be sure to have a great system/tool to facilitate the process.  Do not overlook the importance of getting your plan set-up properly (the framework/structure).  Getting started on the right foot will pay great dividends.