Part 1/2: Success Rides on Your Strategy’s Implementation Model

The perfect storm for failed strategy implementation comes in two phases. The first phase is failing to identify your approach to implementation. The second is failing to set up a cadence for consistent cadence and accountability.

We don’t mean to scare you, especially since with a new planning year brings a renewed focus and excitement around your strategic plan. But, the transition from planning to execution is a difficult one, even for the well versed. So, to help you lead your team from planning to execution with your new planning year, we’ve created this two-part mini-series on how your planning team can identify your approach to implementation and then create the cadence for consistent execution.

Strategic plans are structured and comprised of goals and actions that are assigned individually. But, how do we collectively manage our own accountability and progress? As an organization, you need to decide how you will govern and manage your plan.

To help guide you through the process, we’ve developed three different implementation models that each serves a distinct purpose.

Implementation through Goal Teams

In this model, goals are assigned to cross-department teams. Primary corporate goals are assigned to a manager and the supporting initiatives are assigned to individuals or a division. Teams gather once a month to discuss initiative’s progress, actions in-progress or completed, and review performance measures.

Additionally, Goal Teams must also come to the monthly corporate strategy review meeting to report on the progress of their goals and actions.

Pros: This is one of the fastest routes to cross-functional accountability. It also allows non-managers to participate in one corporate strategy review meeting per quarter

Cons: There is an additional time commitment to stand this model up because Goal Teams don’t have existing meetings. So, it requires an additional 2-3 hours per month for the Goal Team meeting and an additional 1.5 hours every time a Goal Team member attends a corporate strategy review.

Implementation through Department Management

In this model, initiatives are still assigned with a cross-functional mindset, but Department Managers, Assistant Managers, and Supervisors meet monthly to talk about the initiatives that fall within their division and the corporate goals they support. Then, Department Managers come to the corporate monthly strategy review meeting ready to report goal-by-goal on the initiatives they own.

Pros: This can dovetail with existing division meetings, or it can ‘force’ more consistent division meetings. Accountability is owned by supervisors, then with the wider department at the monthly corporate strategy reviews.

Cons: While the corporate strategy review meetings will demonstrate cross-functional effort, this approach can appear to keep the execution mindset at the division level, i.e., what is our division doing to contribute to the successful goal achievement?

Implementation though Individual Management

We expect that individuals will do what was assigned to them in the plan, then come to the monthly corporate strategy review prepared to speak to their progress so we can see our collective progress against the goals. This is one of the simpler approaches and can speak to the direct structure of your plan.

Pros: In some organizations, this is a way to demonstrate that “we trust you.” The supervisor and owners can still meet with their Department Manager to discuss their progress prior to the corporate strategy review meeting, but altogether, the time commitment is much lower than either option above.

Cons: This model requires a ‘heavy hand’ to make sure individuals are keeping up on their commitments and reporting. This model may also contribute to department silos.

So, What’s The Model for You?

Each model presents its own set of opportunities and challenges. It’s important to think about what might work for your organization, your plan, and how it might resonate with your team.

In part 2 of this mini-series, we are going to continue the conversation about implementation to discuss what your organization’s cadence for the strategy review process should be! Stay tuned!



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