The 6 key strategy implementation steps
Before you can implement your strategy you need to create a strategic plan .
Your strategic or implementation plan outlines the steps your team or organization needs to take in order to achieve a goal or objective. Your implementation plan is the roadmap to a successful strategy execution and should include the following steps:
Define your goals
Conduct proper research
Map out any risks
Schedule all milestones
Allocate helpful resources
Once your strategic plan is set, it’s time to get it on the road! There are six steps to follow on your way to a successful implementation.
Step 1: Set and communicate clear, strategic goals
The first step is where your strategic plan and your strategy implementation overlap.
To implement a new strategy, you first must identify clear and attainable goals. As with all things, communication is key. Your goals should include your vision and mission statements , long-term goals , and KPIs .
The clearer the picture, the easier the rest of your strategy implementation will be for your team and organization—simply because everyone will be working towards the same goals.
Step 2: Engage your team
To implement your strategy both effectively and efficiently , you need to create focus and drive accountability. There are a few ways in which you can keep your team engaged throughout the implementation process:
Determine roles and responsibilities early on. Use a RACI matrix to clarify your teammate’s roles and ensure that there are no responsibility gaps.
Delegate work effectively . While it can be tempting to have your eyes on everything, micromanagement will only hold you back. Once you’ve defined everyone’s roles and responsibilities, trust that your team will execute their tasks according to the implementation plan.
Communicate with your team and ensure that everyone knows how their individual work contributes to the project. This will keep everyone motivated and on track.
Step 3: Execute the strategic plan
Allocate necessary resources —like funding for strategic or operational budgets—so your team can put the strategic plan into action. If you don’t have the right resources you won’t be able to achieve your strategic plan, so this should be a top priority. Here’s how you can ensure that your team has the resources they need:
Start with the end in mind to effectively align your project’s objectives, key deliverables, milestones, and timeline.
Identify available resources like your team’s capacity, your available budget, required tools or skills, and any other unconventional resources
Define a clear project scope so you know exactly what your project needs when.
Share your project plan with everyone involved in the implementation process using a work management tool.
The better built out your strategic plan is, the easier it will be to implement it.
Step 4: Stay agile
You’ll inevitably run into issues as you begin implementing your strategy. When this happens, shift your goals or your approach to work around them.
Create a schedule so you can frequently update the status of your goals or implementation strategy changes. Depending on the strategy you’re implementing, you can create weekly, monthly, or quarterly project status reports . Share these updates with your external stakeholders, as well as your internal team, to keep everyone in the loop.
Having a central source of truth where you can update your team in real time will help you streamline this process. Asana’s work management software allows your team to coordinate projects, tasks, and processes in real time but also gives you the freedom to get work done asynchronously —providing everyone with the visibility they need to understand who’s doing what.
Step 5: Get closure
Once you implement the strategy, connect with everyone involved to confirm that their work feels complete. Implementing a strategy isn’t like a puzzle that’s finished when the last piece is set. It’s like planting a garden that continues to grow and change even when you think you’re done with your work.
Getting closure from your team will be the second to last milestone of your strategy implementation and is a crucial step toward completion.
Step 6: Reflect
Conduct a post-mortem or retrospective to reflect on the implemented strategy, as well as evaluate the success of the implementation process and the strategy itself. This step is a chance to uncover lessons learned for upcoming projects and strategies which will allow you to avoid potential pitfalls and embrace new opportunities in the future.
What you need to implement a strategy
No matter how well thought out your strategy is, you’ll need these five key components to successfully implement any strategy.
You’ll need a team that not only understands the strategy you want to implement but also has the skills and bandwidth to support you. Appoint, hire, and train the right people for the job and ensure that the competencies needed to succeed are present in your project team.
Effective resource allocation is one of the most important parts in strategy implementation. Resources can be both financial (e.g., cost of labor) and non-financial (e.g., time to implement strategy).
Everyone in your organization needs to know what their responsibilities are so they can be accountable for their part in implementing the strategy. This also means that the chain of command has to be defined and communicated so everyone knows who to communicate with during the implementation process.
The tools, capabilities, and systems you’ve put in place are another key component. You have to know what the functions of each of these systems are and how they will support your strategic management process during and after the implementation.
The final key component is the organizational culture within your company. Rolling out new strategies can be confusing and stressful for teams. Ensuring that everyone knows what they need to know and feels valued and included is crucial for a successful and effective implementation.
McKinsey’s 7S framework
McKinsey & Company is a world-renowned management consulting firm that, among other things, created a framework of seven factors needed to implement a strategy successfully.
The factors can be split into hard elements (strategy, structure, and systems) and soft elements (shared values, skills, style, and staff). While the hard elements are easy to identify and influence directly, the soft elements are less tangible and typically influenced by the company culture versus a manager or other direct contact.
Let’s take a quick look at the McKinsey 7S Model, beginning with the hard elements:
Strategy: Your organization’s plan to establish or maintain a competitive advantage over others in the field
Structure: Your company’s organizational structure
Systems: The day-to-day procedures and activities performed by your teams
These are the soft elements of the framework:
Style: The leadership style in your organization
Staff: Your team and their general capabilities
Skills: Your team’s competencies and skills
Shared values: Your organization's core values
You can apply this framework to your strategy implementation process by looking at your organization’s shared values first and ensuring that they align with your hard elements. Next, identify how well your hard elements support one another and where changes could improve their interaction. After you’ve established that, do the same for your soft elements.
This analysis helps you identify elements that are working well and elements that need improvement. Applying this framework to your strategic plan and strategy implementation process helps you get a better feel for how well your organization can implement change.
The three Cs of implementing strategy
Business consultant and author Scott Edinger coined the three Cs of implementing strategy —clarity, communication, and cascade. They’re the three steps you should keep in mind if you want to implement your strategy successfully.
Let’s take a closer look at what they represent.
Clarify your strategy. Ideally, strategy was well received in the boardroom and your stakeholders and executives are on board. However, if it’s not clearly defined, you may lose your mid-level and frontline team members along the way. Your team can only implement a strategy they understand, so be clear with what your goals and strategic objectives are.
Communicate your strategy. A poster, announcement, or newsletter won’t be enough to communicate a new strategy to your organization. Diversify your communication strategy to ensure that teams know what’s going on and create opportunities to ask questions so everyone feels like they’re part of the process.
Cascade your strategy. A well implemented strategy cascades through your entire organization. Involve your organization’s managers and ensure that they understand the strategy so they can forward relevant information, tactics, and processes to their teams. While you may have informed your organization during the communication stage, this step is crucial in aligning every last teammate with your new strategy.
Next, let’s have a look at some of the challenges you’ll encounter during strategy implementation.
Strategy implementation pitfalls and solutions
A big undertaking like the implementation of a new strategy comes with its fair share of obstacles. Below are four of the most common pitfalls you’ll encounter when implementing a strategy plus a few tips on how you can create solutions for your team.
1. Overwhelming or meaningless strategic plan
Problem: If the strategic implementation lacks meaning and potential or if there is an overwhelming number of puzzle pieces to consider, it can really put a wrench in your implementation.
Solution: Use SMART goals to ensure that your strategic plan is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. This framework will ensure that your strategic plan is both meaningful and possible to implement.
2. No implementation in sight
Problem: It’s great to have a strategic plan but without the resources and support from upper management, the implementation may never happen.
Solution: Your strategic plan should include clear goals, consequences, and requirements to inspire the actual implementation of your strategy. The clearer the document, the easier it will be to get the resources needed to turn it into action.
3. Lack of communication and ownership
Problem: A team that’s not 100% sure what the strategy actually is and doesn’t feel confident about their respective tasks can make your implementation process come to a halt before it’s even begun.
Solution: Clearly define each team member's responsibilities and delegate any relevant work. This gives team members a sense of ownership over the outcome of the strategy implementation. Ensure that your teammates have the authority and resources to execute their tasks.
4. Lack of accountability and empowerment
Problem: Low visibility and a lack of accountability can make your team feel helpless.
Solution: Schedule regular strategy review and team meetings to discuss each team member’s progress, issues that are arising, and strategy shifts that can contribute to the success of your implementation. Track the progress to give your team a sense of accomplishment whenever they check off another goal they’ve met.
As long as you’re aware of the challenges, you can tackle them head on and avoid unnecessary setbacks.
Plan, implement, celebrate
Change isn’t easy but in order for your team to grow, it’s crucial that your organization does too.
Whether you’re in the midst of developing your strategic plan with a small project team or you’re already communicating your strategy to the entire organization, reliable project management software is critical in ensuring that everyone has access to the resources they need.
And once the strategy is successfully implemented, don’t forget to give yourself and your team a pat on the back. After all, celebrating milestones like these is important too!
Sources: Harvard Business School | MindTools | OnStrategy
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A Manager’s Guide to Successful Strategy Implementation
- 25 Feb 2020
To address new challenges and business concerns, organizations must constantly monitor, evaluate, and adjust their strategic initiatives. When a new strategy needs to be implemented, it’s typically up to managers to ensure it rolls out successfully.
Whether you’re an aspiring, new, or seasoned manager, understanding the strategy implementation process and how it relates to organizational change is critical to ensuring you can be effective over the course of your career.
Here’s an overview of strategy implementation, as well as a step-by-step guide you can use to more effectively bring about change within your business.
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What Is Strategy Implementation?
If you're relatively new to management, you might be wondering what the term “strategy implementation” means.
Strategy implementation is the process of turning plans into action to reach a desired outcome. Essentially, it’s the art of getting stuff done. The success of every organization rests on its capacity to implement decisions and execute key processes efficiently, effectively, and consistently. But how do you ensure that implementing a strategy will be successful?
In the online course Management Essentials , Harvard Business School Professor David Garvin says successfully implementing and executing strategy involves “delivering what’s planned or promised on time, on budget, at quality, and with minimum variability—even in the face of unexpected events and contingencies."
While developing a strategy is one of the first steps to implementing organizational change, the implementation itself is vital to a company’s success. Without an efficient implementation process, even the best-laid plans may not come to fruition.
If you're a manager who wants to implement strategic change within your organization, follow these seven steps to introduce and roll out a new strategy successfully.
7 Key Steps in the Implementation Process
1. set clear goals and define key variables.
The first step of the process is straightforward: You must identify the goals that the new strategy should achieve. Without a clear picture of what you’re trying to attain, it can be difficult to establish a plan for getting there.
One common mistake when goal setting—whether related to personal growth, professional development, or business—is setting objectives that are impossible to reach. Remember: Goals should be attainable. Setting goals that aren’t realistic can lead you and your team to feel overwhelmed, uninspired, deflated, and potentially burnt out.
To avoid inadvertently causing low morale, review the outcomes and performances—both the successes and failures—of previous change initiatives to determine what’s realistic given your timeframe and resources. Use this past experience to define what success looks like.
Another important aspect of goal setting is to account for variables that may hinder your team’s ability to reach them and to lay out contingency plans. The better prepared you are, the more successful the implementation will likely be.
2. Determine Roles, Responsibilities, and Relationships
Once you’ve determined the goals you’re working toward and the variables that might get in your way, you should build a roadmap for achieving those goals, set expectations among your team, and clearly communicate your implementation plan, so there’s no confusion.
In this phase, it can be helpful to document all of the resources available, including the employees, teams, and departments that will be involved. Outline a clear picture of what each resource is responsible for achieving, and establish a communication process that everyone should adhere to.
Implementing strategic plans requires strong relationships and, as a manager, you’ll be in charge of telling people not only how to interact with each other and how often, but also who the decision-makers are, who’s accountable for what, and what to do when an unforeseen issue arises.
3. Delegate the Work
Once you know what needs to be done to ensure success, determine who needs to do what and when. Refer to your original timeline and goal list, and delegate tasks to the appropriate team members.
You should explain the big picture to your team so they understand the company's vision and make sure everyone knows their specific responsibilities. Also, set deadlines to avoid overwhelming individuals. Remember that your job as a manager is to achieve goals and keep your team on-task, so try to avoid the urge to micromanage .
4. Execute the Plan, Monitor Progress and Performance, and Provide Continued Support
Next, you’ll need to put the plan into action. One of the most difficult skills to learn as a manager is how to guide and support employees effectively. While your focus will likely be on delegation much of the time, it’s important to make yourself available to answer questions your employees might have, or address challenges and roadblocks they may be experiencing.
Check in with your team regularly about their progress and listen to their feedback.
One effective strategy for monitoring progress is to use daily, weekly, and monthly status reports and check-ins to provide updates, re-establish due dates and milestones, and ensure all teams are aligned.
Related: How to Give Feedback Effectively
5. Take Corrective Action (Adjust or Revise, as Necessary)
Implementation is an iterative process, so the work doesn’t stop as soon as you think you’ve reached your goal. Processes can change mid-course, and unforeseen issues or challenges can arise. Sometimes, your original goals will need to shift as the nature of the project itself changes.
It’s more important to be attentive, flexible, and willing to change or readjust plans as you oversee implementation than it is to blindly adhere to your original goals.
Periodically ask yourself and your team: Do we need to adjust? If so, how? Do we need to start over? The answers to these questions can prove invaluable.
6. Get Closure on the Project, and Agreement on the Output
Everyone on the team should agree on what the final product should look like based on the goals set at the beginning. When you’ve successfully implemented your strategy, check in with each team member and department to make sure they have everything they need to finish the job and feel like their work is complete.
You’ll need to report to your management team, so gather information, details, and results from your employees, so that you can paint an accurate picture to leadership.
7. Conduct a Retrospective or Review of How the Process Went
Once your strategy has been fully implemented, look back on the process and evaluate how things went. Ask yourself questions like:
- Did we achieve our goals?
- If not, why? What steps are required to get us to those goals?
- What roadblocks or challenges emerged over the course of the project that could have been anticipated? How can we avoid these challenges in the future?
- In general, what lessons can we learn from the process?
While failure is never the goal, an unsuccessful or flawed strategy implementation can prove a valuable learning experience for an organization, so long as time is taken to understand what went wrong and why.
Learning How to Oversee Strategy Implementation
Successful strategy implementation can be challenging, and it requires strong leadership and management skills. Effective delegation, patience, emotional intelligence, thorough organizational abilities, and communication skills are crucial.
If you’re looking to build your skills and become a better manager , consider taking a leadership or management course that aligns with your personal and professional goals. Management training courses are often flexible in design but offer critical, hands-on learning opportunities provided by leading industry experts that can be applied to any profession.
Do you want to improve your management skills? Explore our eight-week online course Management Essentials , and learn how you can spearhead initiatives that enable your organization to improve and innovate.
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Detailed Implementation Plan for Business Strategy
Category: OKR University .
A strategy implementation plan is crucial for businesses to effectively execute their strategy by breaking it down into specific tasks, assigning responsibilities, establishing timelines, and tracking progress. A strategy implementation plan is a detailed roadmap that clearly defines the steps and activities required to execute the strategy effectively.
- What is a strategy implementation plan?
- The difference between a strategic plan and a strategy implementation plan
- Why is a strategy implementation plan important?
- Components of a strategy implementation plan
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The success of a business depends on how good its strategy is, but a great strategy is still just a concept or blueprint that merely reflects the intent of the business.
- A strategy implementation plan is a detailed roadmap that clearly defines the steps and activities required to execute the strategy effectively.
- While a strategic plan focuses on defining the strategy, a strategy implementation plan focuses on executing it.
- A strategy implementation plan is crucial for turning a strategic plan into reality as it outlines all the steps and actions required to implement a strategy.
- A well-designed strategy implementation plan helps businesses ensure the effective allocation of resources, alignment, and cooperation of all the stakeholders in working towards the same goals and progress in the right direction.
- Following are some of the key components in a strategy implementation plan necessary for successfully executing a strategy: Action Items, Timelines, Resource Allocation, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Communication Plan, Risk Management Plan, and Monitoring and Evaluation.
Strategy and Implementation Plan
The success of a business depends on how good its strategy is. A solid business strategy helps the business organization achieve its objectives, remain competitive, and stay ahead of the competition. It takes into account various aspects of the business, such as its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and enables businesses to create a well-defined plan to cater to the customers with suitable offerings and weather the challenges in the market. It enables businesses to set clear goals, identify the steps needed to achieve them, and determine the resources required for success.
However, a great strategy is still just a concept or blueprint that merely reflects the intent of the business. Unless you manage to implement it effectively, a strategy cannot achieve the desired outcomes. Strategy implementation provides a clear direction for achieving the strategic objectives and ensures success. A perfect strategy implementation requires a focused and coordinated effort across all levels of the organization. It involves putting the right people, processes, and resources in place to execute the strategy effectively. It calls for a detailed strategy implementation plan.
What is a Strategy Implementation Plan?
A strategy implementation plan is a detailed roadmap that clearly defines the steps and activities required to execute the strategy effectively. It provides businesses with a framework for setting priorities, managing resources, and tracking progress toward achieving the desired strategic objectives. A well-crafted implementation plan enables businesses to execute the strategy in the most efficient and effective manner possible, increasing their chances of success.
Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan. There is no other route to success. Pablo Picasso
What is the Difference Between a Strategic Plan and a Strategy Implementation Plan?
A strategy implementation plan is a totally different document compared to a strategic plan. They both serve different purposes.
A strategic plan is devised by the top management. It is a high-level document that focuses on the bigger picture and the ambitions of an organization. It outlines the vision, mission, and long-term goals of the organization. It elaborates on the direction the organization wants to take and the long-term objectives it expects to achieve over a certain period, usually three to five years. A strategic plan details the overall strategy and lays out a roadmap for how the organization will achieve its goals.
In contrast, an implementation plan is a highly detailed, actionable, tactical document that lists and details the specific actions and steps businesses should take to implement a strategy. It breaks down the business strategy into specific tasks and smaller objectives. It assigns responsibilities to relevant team members, establishes timelines and milestones for each task, event, and activity, and provides a framework for tracking progress and evaluating success.
While a strategic plan focuses on defining the strategy, a strategy implementation plan focuses on executing it. A strategy implementation plan is critical for translating the strategy into action and making progress toward achieving the strategic goals.
Why is a Strategy Implementation Plan Important?
A strategy implementation plan is crucial for turning a strategic plan into reality as it outlines all the steps and actions required to implement a strategy. It helps organizations to effectively execute their strategy by breaking it down into specific tasks, assigning responsibilities to the right people, establishing timelines for each task and milestone, and providing a framework for tracking progress and evaluating success.
Without a strategy implementation plan, a strategic plan may remain nothing more than just an idea, with no clear path to execution. A well-designed strategy implementation plan helps businesses ensure the effective allocation of resources, alignment, and cooperation of all the stakeholders in working towards the same goals and progress in the right direction.
A strategy implementation plan also helps businesses identify potential obstacles and challenges, allowing businesses to proactively put mitigation strategies and counteracting mechanisms in place to address them before they grow into bigger issues. It also helps to establish accountability by assigning responsibilities to the team members for specific tasks, outcomes, and deliverables.
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Seven ways an effective strategy implementation plan can help execution.
- Helps to convert a strategic plan at a conceptual level into actionable steps, activities, and tasks.
- Assigns responsibility for every task to concerned personnel, creates a reporting structure, and ensures accountability.
- Establishes timelines and milestones and makes tasks and steps time-bound and trackable.
- Provides a framework for measuring progress towards the objectives and evaluating success.
- Ensures judicious allocation of adequate resources for all the tasks and steps.
- Identifies potential obstacles or challenges and proactively addresses them.
- Helps organizations achieve their strategic objectives and realize their vision.
Seven Components of a strategy implementation plan
Following are some of the key components in a strategy implementation plan necessary for successfully executing a strategy.
1. Action items
Action items are a list of specific tasks that the company needs to complete to implement the strategy. Each action item is clearly defined, with instructions, expected outcomes, deadlines, and resources needed. Every action item should be assigned to a specific individual or team with clear expectations and accountability. Following are some examples of action items.
- Develop a landing page to generate leads.
- Hire a social media manager and a content director to execute the marketing strategy.
- Train the staff on leveraging AI to gain more comprehensive insights from the collected data.
- Secure funding for the marketing initiatives to promote the newly launched product line.
- Create a new e-commerce store to support the strategy.
Every task, action, or step requires a timeline to determine when it needs to be completed and by whom. The timeline should also be segmented into smaller time frames, and the expected progress at those specific points during strategy implementation should be listed as key milestones and deadlines. It is important to ensure that the timeline is realistic and achievable. While creating the timeline, you should also take into account any potential delays or unexpected roadblocks that may arise during the strategy execution.
- Lead generation
Responsibility: Marketing Manager
Action item: Achieve 4000 new leads by the end of Q2
Steps and Timeline:
- 1000 leads by the 30 April 2023
- 2500 new leads by 31 May 2023
- 4000 new leads by 30 June 2023
- Hire new employees
Responsibility: HR Manager
Action item: Hire a social media manager and a content director in Q2
- Write job descriptions with detailed roles and responsibilities – 20 Apr 2023
- Add them to the list of openings on the ‘Career’ page on the corporate website – 27 Apr 2023
- Communicate the requirements and invite applications through digital ads and Manpower site listings – 30 Apr 2023
- Shortlist suitable candidates and schedule interviews – 15 May 2023
- Assess the findings and select the right employees – 25 May 2023
- Communicate with them and confirm their availability and willingness to join – 26 May 2023
- Send offer letters to them – 31 May 2023
- Onboard the new employees with an induction – 30 June 2023
3. Resource allocation
The strategy implementation plan should mention the resources needed to implement the strategy, including human resources, financial resources, equipment, infrastructure, and technology. The strategy implementation plan must ensure the allocation and availability of necessary resources for all the tasks at the appropriate times throughout the implementation process.
- Q2 Marketing campaign – $100,000
- Recruitment and onboarding of new employees – $50,000 for new employees
- Technology training and upskilling employees – $25000
- E-commerce Website and landing page development – $100,000
Personnel: Marketing team, Accounts team, HR team, IT team, and third-party consultants
Equipment: New computers and software for staff, marketing materials, new multi-channel campaign management software, and website hosting
4. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Strategy implementation requires careful monitoring and tracking of the progress toward the objectives. For that, you should identify the relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and key metrics to measure the success of the strategy implementation. These KPIs should be specific, measurable, and aligned with the overall objectives of the strategy. The plan should have target numbers to verify that the action items lead to desired outcomes.
- Increase sales by 15%.
- Achieve an increase in website traffic by 20%.
- Increase customer satisfaction by 10%.
- Boost social media engagement by 25%.
5. Communication plan
Strategy execution requires communication with various stakeholders at various points in time. So you need a communication plan to govern all the communication involved in strategy execution. It should inform all stakeholders about the strategy execution, including the goals, timelines, and progress updates. It should also describe the appropriate channels and frequency of communication throughout the implementation to continuously engage with the stakeholders.
- Monthly progress updates to all employees
- Quarterly progress reports to the executive team and board of directors
- Fortnightly newsletters to customers
- Social media updates thrice a week
6. Risk management plan
When a company is planning a strategic implementation, it must consider the risks involved in it and the challenges and problems that may arise during the implementation. So there is a need for a robust risk management plan to identify potential risks, assess their likelihood and impact, and develop strategies for mitigating them. It should also include a contingency plan as a backup in case of unexpected events. Planning should also include mechanisms to regularly monitor and address the risks throughout the implementation process.
Potential risk: Failure of the marketing campaign
Mitigation strategy: Conduct thorough market research and set up focus groups to test the campaign before launch.
Potential risk: Lack of adoption of a new technology
Mitigation strategy: Set goals for the company-wide adoption of the new technology using the OKR framework and set a deadline. Communicate it with the employees, update adoption data regularly on the OKR software, collect regular feedback through and provide training and support for staff to ensure successful adoption.
Potential risk: Lack of financial resources
Mitigation strategy: Develop a contingency plan to secure additional funding if necessary.
7. Monitoring and evaluation
It is imperative to monitor and evaluate strategy execution regularly to verify progress, identify problems, make adjustments, and ensure that the strategy execution is on track. The monitoring and evaluation process should be ongoing throughout the period of strategy implementation. So the strategy implementation plan should include a process for collecting and analyzing data. It should also mention the means to report progress to stakeholders.
- Regular review of sales data to track progress toward KPIs
- Comparing the number of leads generated with the sales conversion figures to identify the ratio of quality leads
- Analysis of website traffic, number of leads generated, and social media engagement
- Monthly surveys to measure customer satisfaction
- Quarterly review of the budget to ensure proper allocation and utilization of resources
Strategy Implementation Plan: Frequently Asked Questions
1. what is a strategy implementation plan.
A strategy implementation plan is a detailed roadmap that clearly defines the steps and activities required to execute the strategy effectively. It provides businesses a framework for setting priorities, managing resources, and tracking progress toward achieving the desired strategic objectives. A well-crafted implementation plan enables businesses to execute the strategy in the most efficient and effective manner possible, increasing their chances of success.
2. What are the 5 steps of strategy implementation?
The five steps of strategic implementation include
- Strategic Planning
- Communicating the strategy
- Aligning the organization
- Strategy implementation
- Monitoring and adapting
3. How do you write a strategy implementation plan?
- Define specific goals and objectives.
- Identify the tactics and initiatives needed to achieve those goals.
- Ensure alignment with the strategic objectives.
- Develop a timeline and budget for each initiative.
- Assign responsibilities and establish performance metrics.
- Assess risks and create a risk management plan.
- Create a communication plan to communicate with stakeholders.
- Continuously monitor progress and adjust the plan as needed.
Strategy implementation plan: Key takeaways
- A great strategy is just a concept without a solid implementation plan.
- A strategy implementation plan helps businesses turn their strategy into reality by breaking it down into specific tasks, assigning responsibilities, establishing timelines, and tracking progress.
- A strategy implementation plan differs from a strategic plan, which focuses on defining the strategy and long-term goals.
- Key components of a strategy implementation plan include action items, timelines, resource allocation, KPIs, communication plan, risk management plan, and monitoring and evaluation.
In recent years, the latest trends in strategy implementation have focused on agility, innovation, and digital transformation. Companies invest in technology to optimize processes, create cross-functional teams for collaborative decision-making, and prioritize customer-centricity.
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Strategy Implementation: The 6 Step Process
What is Strategy Implementation?
Strategy implementation is the process used to ensure a strategic plan is executed. It involves translating the high-level goals and objectives outlined in a company's strategic plan into specific actions and initiatives that can be carried out by employees at all levels of the organization.
As a whopping 9 out of 10 organizations fail to implement their strategies, you can’t just create a strategic plan and leave it on the shelf—make sure you have a solid strategy implementation process in place to bring it to life.
In our six-step strategy implementation process, you will transform your static, inactive plan into a living, dynamic, and successful strategy implementation. Read our article on factors affecting strategy implementation to develop an even deeper understanding of strategic implementation.
6-Step Strategy Implementation Process
The implementation process should follow a strategic analysis and strategy formulation phase. After you’ve identified your business problem and strategy to tackle it, you should follow these key steps to put your strategy into action:
- Choose your strategy framework
- Build your plan
- Define projects and KPIs
- Establish your strategy rhythm
- Implement strategy reporting
- Link performance to strategy
Here is our 6-step process guide to strategy implementation to ensure your new strategy evolves from a plan to strategic implementation.
Step #1: Choose your strategy framework
Strategy is something that should be embedded in everything an organization does.
It must be part of the DNA of both the organization and its people. But if you don't make an effort to call it out explicitly, you won't get the focus or traction you need.
Start with a simple framework that establishes a strategy lexicon everyone understands and can get behind. Whenever someone asks, "how are our strategic objectives going?", everyone must be on the same page regarding what it actually means.
For example, at Cascade , we use the following "strategy house" to define the different elements of our strategy:
We walk you through this approach in our How to Write a Strategic Plan Guide , where you’ll also find a free template you can download to jump-start the development of your strategy.
It gives you a clear way to talk about strategy implementation and avoids using unnecessary jargon.
We've deliberately chosen to include only a vision statement rather than the more popular “ vision and mission ” combo because we found that people struggle to understand the difference between those two.
If you need to add more depth to your strategy, consider using a strategic planning framework such as the Balanced Scorecard or McKinsey's Strategic Horizons .
However, whichever strategic framework you choose, simplicity should remain your top priority. All of the frameworks in our guide pass this test with flying colors!
Step #2: Build your plan and set clear goals
The next step of our strategy implementation process is where you start creating your roadmap to success.
Now that you've got your framework in place, you're ready to move on to the actual creation of your strategic plan. We've developed a comprehensive guide on how to write a strategic plan , so we won't go into details here.
But assuming you're using a framework similar to the one above, here's how we'd suggest approaching the creation of your implementation plan with your key stakeholders:
1. Bring together your management team: Gather the leaders of your organization (founders, CEO, directors, etc.) to agree on your vision. You might do this in one workshop but have them engaged with it regularly. Have them read this article to keep everyone on the same page.
2. Define values: At the same workshop, write down the values that the organization holds. They’re crucial for your company’s culture, so go through this article to make the process smoother.
3. Align on strategic priorities : Finally (same workshop still), write down 3 or 4 Strategic Focus Areas the team thinks need to be addressed to reach the vision.
4. Co-create objectives with your teams: Take your basic framework back to your team(s) and have them independently input ideas for strategic goals and objectives under each Focus Area. You must involve them in the planning process and give them a voice. This will ensure buy-in and motivation to implement your business strategies.
💡 Tip : You might want to assign one Focus Area to each member of your leadership team and have them lead the charge for getting that Focus Area fleshed out. This is a great way to ensure buy-in to the final product of your strategic plan.
📚 Recommended read: The Right Way To Set Team Goals
5. Make a final check: Once you've fleshed out the strategic objectives, get back together as a group and ask yourself a series of hard questions:
- If we deliver each of these strategic objectives under a given Focus Area, will we have nailed that Focus Area?
- If we deliver all of our Focus Areas, will we reach our vision?
- Will our values help or hinder us along the way?
📚 Recommended read: How To Effectively Co-create Strategy At Your Organization (Summary and recording of the workshop with Illana Rosen, Director of Innovation and Strategy at Old Navy)
Step #3: Define KPIs and projects
Now it’s time to cover the bottom layer of our strategy house: projects and key performance indicators (KPIs).
That's part of the strategy implementation process where top management should empower people throughout the organization to come up with their projects and KPIs to measure success.
Step 3 of our process guide to strategy implementation is to define your KPIs and create effective projects . You need actionable steps (projects) and a way to measure progress toward your strategic objectives (KPIs).
KPIs are one of the oldest management tools around. And for a good reason—they work. They keep you and your team members honest about progress and focused on outcomes.
They need to become your beacons for implementing strategy. Here are a few tips when it comes to coming up with your own:
- Keep them simple: Don't try to come up with complex ratios that only a small group of people understand. Make them simple and relatable to everyone in the organization.
- Choose at least 1 KPI for each of your strategic objectives : In general, it’s best to have 1-3 KPIs per objective. Too many KPIs can lead to confusion and dilute focus. However, the exact number will depend on the complexity of the objective and available resources. If an objective is particularly complex, it may require more KPIs to adequately measure progress.
- Make it easy to measure them quickly: Large organizations have hundreds of metrics, with each unit and function tracking them in their own set of preferred tools and applications. Bring them under one roof so you can get real-time insights.
- Don't make them all about the $$$: Sure, profit and revenue might be your end-game, but KPIs should be the drivers of those things—measuring the outcomes alone adds little value.
Here’s an example of focus areas, related strategic objectives, and assigned KPIs:
Focus area: Operational Excellence
Strategic objective: Reduce waste in the manufacturing process by 15% within the next year
- Scrap rate : Measures the percentage of defective products or materials that are discarded during the manufacturing process.
- Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) : Measures the overall efficiency of manufacturing equipment.
- Cycle time : Measures the amount of time it takes to complete one unit of production.
One final point: You need to update the progress of your KPIs at least once per month, or you risk quickly losing focus on them. Spend the time now as part of your strategic planning process to figure out how to access the stats and data you need.
Projects are the specific initiatives and actions that will help the organization achieve its strategic goals. Here are some steps to create effective projects in the strategy implementation process:
- Make sure your projects are aligned with your overall business strategy .
- Prioritize the projects that will have the most significant impact, and define specific project objectives that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound).
- For each project, you should have a detailed project plan that includes timelines, milestones, and key stakeholders.
- Assign teams with the right skills and knowledge to execute the project, monitor progress, and adjust as needed.
- Once the project is complete, hold a retrospective meeting. Evaluate the outcomes, identify successes and areas for improvement, and use this information to inform future projects.
📚 Recommended read: Free Implementation Plan Templates And Examples
Step #4: Deal with business-as-usual
Step 4 in our guide to strategy implementation is where you overcome business-as-usual.
The ironic thing about strategy implementation is that everyone acknowledges its importance, but it's often the first thing to be forgotten about when the going gets tough.
People get so caught up in the day-to-day that they don't have time to focus on the big-picture items that will keep the organization moving forward. This rapidly becomes a self-fulfilling cycle and is one of the most common reasons strategies fail .
Here are some tips to help you break the cycle:
- Meet often to discuss progress: We'd suggest a minimum of quarterly reviews for higher-level objectives, but monthly would be a great place to start until things get bedded in.
- Determine the attendees: You'll need the leadership team at a minimum—but you also need to involve the rest of the organization. The more they engage with the overall strategy, the stronger the ownership they feel.
- Be conscious of time: Specify the end time and always respect it. Allocate the last 10 minutes (or as many as you need) to “next steps”. Reviewing progress without the next steps is meaningless.
- Define the meeting structure beforehand: What metrics will you discuss? For how long? Which reports will be used? More on this in step #5 below.
Step #5: Implement consistent & simple strategy reports
Step 5 of our process guide to strategy implementation focuses on strategy reporting .
Once you've put your strategy into action, it's important to review and adapt it regularly to ensure it's still on track to meet your business goals. This is where strategy reports come in handy.
Now that your meetings are in place, you'll want to choose a consistent way of reporting the progress of your strategy implementation . The main objectives of this report should be:
Set up a regular schedule for reviewing your strategy reports. This could be weekly, monthly, or quarterly—whatever works best for your business. Everyone should know what to expect and what they need to update before the meeting(s).
The progress report should give an at-a-glance view of how the strategy is progressing. Identify the key metrics that are most important to your business, and focus on those when reviewing your reports and dashboards .
Ensure that the report includes the names of the owner of each goal (accountability), as well as the names of the people getting things done (recognition).
Your next steps. Your action plan. What will be done to get to desired outcomes? The strategy report needs to include not only an overview of how the strategy looks now but how it's progressing over time. Try to include a comparison period or graphs/charts that show progress over time to ensure momentum is maintained.
Strategy reports will help you look for trends and patterns in your data. Are there areas where you're consistently exceeding expectations? Are there areas where you're consistently falling short? Use this information to make informed decisions about how to adapt your strategy.
And don't forget - adapting your strategy doesn't mean giving up on it entirely. It simply means making adjustments and tweaks to ensure you're staying on track and achieving your goals. Sometimes, a small tweak can make a big difference in your results, so don't be afraid to make changes as you go.
👉 How Cascade can help you:
You should be able to create, customize, and share strategy reports with your team with ease. Even if you are not a professional business data analyst. That’s where Cascade comes in.
With a user-friendly interface, you’ll be able to stay organized and focused on your strategic goals.
But you’ll be able to do more than just create progress reports; Cascade helps you do work that matters—accomplishing business outcomes. Imagine how you would use the extra 2 hours if you wouldn’t have to fill out the spreadsheets to analyze and report on progress.
Step #6: Link performance management with strategic management
Linking performance reviews to strategy, the first five steps of our process guide to strategy implementation are the absolute basics to ensure that you have success implementing and executing your strategy .
But organizations that truly succeed are those who manage to weave strategy implementation into the fabric of their existence. An easy way to get started with this is to create a formal link between strategic management and performance reviews.
Nothing shows people how important strategy is more than when it impacts their reviews and potentially even their reward and remuneration. Here are a few ways to do it:
- Build a strategic management system that has these performance review links built into its HR processes.
But even if you're doing performance reviews the old-fashioned way, you can still make a point of awarding specific credit to employees who embrace strategy execution in their role and can demonstrate how they've contributed.
- Encourage your managers to talk to people about strategy regularly. Consider creating a 1:1 template that managers can use which highlights how a person's goals contribute to the strategy.
- Expose your strategy to your people. Lack of communication is a common pitfall that prevents successful strategy execution. If you only present your strategy in PowerPoint, people won’t remember it. Help your people align with the plan by having them access it at will.
👉 How Cascade can help:
You should see at a glance how connected your functional units are to your strategic goals, giving you the context you need to make informed decisions.
With Cascade, you get a complete view of alignment within your organization and its teams.
You’ll be able to easily evaluate how the performance of each initiative and team contributes to the success of your strategy. This will help you identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions that drive your business forward.
Key Components To Support Successful Strategy Implementation
A well-written implementation plan is not enough to guarantee successful strategy execution . There are several key components crucial to support effective strategy implementation in an organization. Here’s why you should pay attention to:
Ensure that the strategy is aligned with the overall vision and mission of the organization, as well as the organization's core values. It’s essential to have clarity and unity across all levels of the organization.
Assign ownership of specific tasks and responsibilities to individuals or teams within the organization, and hold them accountable for achieving their objectives. This will promote ownership, commitment, and a sense of responsibility in your team.
Ensure that the necessary resources, including financial, human, and technological resources, are allocated appropriately to support the implementation of the strategy. Without the right resources, your strategy is just a piece of paper.
📚 Recommended read: Resource Allocation: How To Do It Effectively (+ Templates)
You should have a transparent performance measurement system in place to track progress. This way, you can easily identify any areas that are underperforming and take corrective action before it affects your overall objectives. Regularly monitor and report on these metrics to track your progress and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Design your organizational structure to support the implementation of your strategy. Clearly define roles, responsibilities, and decision-making processes to avoid confusion and maximize efficiency.
Effective systems, including processes, procedures, and tools, can help ensure that resources are allocated appropriately and that performance is monitored and evaluated effectively. Use the right systems to simplify your processes and streamline your workflow.
Remember, a well-written implementation plan is just the beginning. To guarantee successful strategy execution, pay attention to these key components. If you’re not sure if you have them covered, try McKinsey’s 7S Model to identify potential implementation constraints.
Benefits of a well-executed strategy implementation
Here are some of the key advantages of an effective strategy implementation process:
- Increased revenue: When everyone in the organization is working toward the same objectives, it becomes easier to identify and pursue new growth opportunities.
- Improved operational efficiency: When your team understands their roles and responsibilities and is working toward common goals, they're better able to collaborate and optimize their workflows. This means smoother sailing and less hiccups along the way.
- Better decision-making: With a solid strategy in place, leaders can use it as a guidepost when making important decisions, ensuring they stay aligned with the organization's overall goals and objectives. No more flailing around in the dark!
- Increased employee satisfaction: By involving employees in the strategy development process and regularly communicating progress updates, organizations can foster a sense of ownership and accountability among their teams. Happy employees = happy workplace.
- Enhanced reputation: When a business delivers on promises and consistently exceeds customer expectations, it establishes itself as a leader in its industry and builds a loyal customer base.
- Faster adaptability: By regularly reviewing and updating the strategy, organizations can stay ahead of the curve and be better positioned to pivot in response to new challenges or opportunities. Flexibility is key!
Strategy Implementation Best Practices And Final Tips
Here are some final tips and best practices to help you implement your strategies like a pro:
Be decisive and go all in
No action plan is perfect, so don’t get too attached to it. When you spot opportunities or mistakes in your reviewing meetings, act on them decisively. Change is not only natural but necessary to learn and adapt at light speed to the market’s conditions.
Guide decision-making with good strategies
Frame your strategy as choices. The company’s direction must be clear enough that it educates your people’s decisions when they reach crossroads. And they reach crossroads multiple times per day.
Get rid of static tools
Refining your strategy faces massive friction without a dynamic tool. That means wasting time, losing peace of mind, and ultimately losing money. Cascade removes this friction from all the stages of your strategy refinement, from planning to reporting , and even aligning .
Leverage data analytics
Use data analytics to inform your strategy implementation decisions. Data analytics can help you to identify trends, opportunities, and potential roadblocks, and to make data-driven decisions that support your strategic goals.
If you are struggling to discover insights because your data and metrics are scattered across multiple business and project management tools, Cascade will make your life easier.
By integrating your metrics into one centralized source of truth , you'll have access to all performance data in one place. This makes it simple to transform statistical information into actionable insights and compelling narratives with effective data storytelling.
Cascade’s real-time dashboards are designed to help you monitor key sets of data or metrics in real time, giving you the visibility you need to stay on top of what's important.
And with customizable features, you can tailor your dashboard view to suit your needs, making it easy to share insights with your team and keep everyone aligned.
Follow these tips and best practices, and let Cascade help you bring your strategy implementation game to the next level.
📚 Recommended read: Best Strategy Software: 8 Possible Roads To Strategy Execution (2023)
Implement strategies with Cascade 🚀
Working your way through our 6-step process guide to strategy implementation isn't something you'll be able to do overnight. It will take a good few weeks and probably a few iterations. But don't let that be an excuse not to start.
We can tell you without question that when our customers follow the above process, their strategy implementation plan succeeds far more often than it fails. This is an integral component of effective strategic management and shouldn't be overlooked.
By incorporating Cascade into your strategy implementation process, you can simplify your approach and maximize your chances of success. With Cascade's real-time dashboards, centralized business data, and full visibility into performance, you can stay focused and mitigate risks to ensure long-term success.
So why not take the first step today and incorporate Cascade into your strategic management process?
Experience the power of Cascade for yourself by taking a tour of our platform or booking a 1:1 demo call with one of our in-house strategy experts.
Other Related Strategy Implementation Templates
- Program Implementation Plan Template
- IT Implementation Plan Template
- Project Implementation Plan Template
- Digital Transformation Plan Template
- Strategic Growth Plan Template
Strategy Implementation FAQs
What is the difference between strategy implementation and strategy formulation.
Strategy formulation is the process of developing a strategic plan, while strategy implementation is the process of executing that plan by coordinating and communicating with different departments and individuals.
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Strategic planning for business growth, implementing a strategic plan.
Implementation is vital to the success of your strategic plan. It allows you to activate the plan you have created, turn strategy into actions, and ensure that the time and energy you've put into the planning process don't go to waste.
Steps to implement your strategic plan
To ensure that you're set up for a successful implementation, you will need to secure five key elements: people, resources, structure, systems and organisational culture. You will also have to follow these vital steps to carry out the implementation:
- install a new business and management structure, if necessary
- assign clear roles and responsibilities to those implementing the plan
- clearly communicate the strategy, processes and goals to staff, stakeholders, etc
- secure funding and resources for any initiatives or changes that need to happen
- manage change efficiently and effectively
- enable staff to dedicate time and effort to the agreed actions
Once you align these things, you will be able to execute your strategic plan.
Monitor strategic implementation
The key to implementing strategic objectives is to assign goals and responsibilities with budgets and deadlines to responsible owners. This could include key employees or department heads. You then have to control and evaluate actions to ensure they remain on target towards achieving the strategic goals. You can do this through:
- performance measurement
- review of internal and external issues
- making corrective actions, if necessary
Monitoring will be an ongoing process. You will have to:
- define which parameters you wish to measure
- use KPIs to assess business performance
- set targets and deadlines as a way of managing the process
- determine your progress by measuring the actual results versus the plan
As implementation progresses, you may find you need to tweak your business strategy.
Using a business plan alongside your strategy
Your business plan is another important tool in the implementation process. The business plan is typically a short-term and more concrete document than the strategic plan. It tends to focus more closely on operational considerations such as sales and cashflow trends. Your business plan can help you set out actions that drive growth and the implementation of your strategy. See how to prepare a business plan for growth .
Remember that strategic planning can involve making both organisational and cultural changes to the way your business operates. Read more about best practices for change management .
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What Is Strategic Implementation?
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What Is the Difference Between Strategic Planning & Strategic Implementation?
Lesson objectives for motivating employees, how to analyze the key success factors for plan implementation.
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Strategic implementation is a process that puts plans and strategies into action to reach desired goals. The strategic plan itself is a written document that details the steps and processes needed to reach plan goals, and includes feedback and progress reports to ensure that the plan is on track.
What Strategic Implementation Addresses
Strategic implementation is critical to a company’s success, addressing the who, where, when, and how of reaching the desired goals and objectives. It focuses on the entire organization. Implementation occurs after environmental scans, SWOT analyses, and identifying strategic issues and goals. Implementation involves assigning individuals to tasks and timelines that will help an organization reach its goals.
A successful implementation plan will have a very visible leader, such as the CEO, as he communicates the vision, excitement and behaviors necessary for achievement. Everyone in the organization should be engaged in the plan. Performance measurement tools are helpful to provide motivation and allow for followup. Implementation often includes a strategic map, which identifies and maps the key ingredients that will direct performance. Such ingredients include finances, market, work environment, operations, people and partners.
A very common mistake in strategic implementation is not developing ownership in the process. Also, a lack of communication and a plan that involves too much are common pitfalls. Often a strategic implementation is too fluffy, with little concrete meaning and potential, or it is offered with no way of tracking its progress. Companies will often only address the implementation annually, allowing management and employees to become caught up in the day-to-day operations and neglecting the long-term goals. Another pitfall is not making employees accountable for various aspects of the plan or powerful enough to authoritatively make changes.
To successfully implement your strategy, several items must be in place. The right people must be ready to assist you with their unique skills and abilities. You need to have the resources, which include time and money, to successfully implement the strategy. The structure of management must be communicative and open, with scheduled meetings for updates. Management and technology systems must be in place to track the implementation, and the environment in the workplace must be such that everyone feels comfortable and motivated.
Sample Strategic Assessment Plans
Numerous sites and reference works offer sample strategic plan documents. The My Strategic Plan website, for example, offers a step-by-step plan for implementation that includes assessing necessary personnel, aligning the budget and producing various versions of the plan for individual groups. Several of these sample strategic plan documents allow you to set up a system for tracking the plan and managing the system with rewards. Typically, the plan is presented to the entire organization and includes a schedule of meetings, annual review dates for reporting progress and a means of modifying current assignments or adding new assessments.
- Reference for Business: Strategy Implementation
- Management Help: All About Strategic Planning
Kristie Lorette started writing professionally in 1996. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and multinational business from Florida State University and a Master of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University. Her work has appeared online at Bill Savings, Money Smart Life and Mortgage Loan.
Strategic planning at all organization levels, what are some disadvantages of strategic management, the implementation process of strategic plans, the importance of business implementation, effective communication plan, the best practices in strategic implementation, what is the role of leadership in strategic implementation, how to introduce new technology to an organization, corporate development & planning, most popular.
- 1 Strategic Planning at All Organization Levels
- 2 What Are Some Disadvantages of Strategic Management?
- 3 The Implementation Process of Strategic Plans
- 4 The Importance of Business Implementation
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You must have noticed that markets change over time. There's an even greater variety of more and more innovative products, and customer behaviour and demand for certain goods and services have changed. Therefore, companies have to change their Strategic Direction in order to adapt to the new environment.
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You must have noticed that markets change over time. There's an even greater variety of more and more innovative products, and customer behaviour and demand for certain goods and services have changed. Therefore, companies have to change their Strategic Direction in order to adapt to the new environment.
Strategic implementation plan
What is a strategic implementation plan? S rategic implementation is the process of turning plans into action using a specified strategy. It requires careful planning and project Management skills. Strategic implementation focuses on aspects such as time, quality, quantity, and information.
Strategic implementation process
The strategic implementation process includes concrete steps. There is also a document called strategic implementation plan (SIP) which outlines the activities and decisions that are essential for implementing the strategy. There are five strategic implementation steps:
Define your goals
First, the business should identify the goals that the new strategy should achieve. The business needs to be clear about what its goal is, otherwise it will never be able to achieve it. Moreover, it is important to think rationally and s et objectives that are achievable. This will save time spent trying to achieve unrealistic goals.
Do the research
Gathering all the information regarding the project and deeply analysing them. This will allow the organization to understand its needs and evaluate possible opportunities and threats.
Create a strategy
Owing to the research that has been done in the previous steps, the business is now ready to form an appropriate strategy. It is important to determine what the enterprise already has and what else it needs. The business should t hink about how it can look for external resources, t ry to solve any issues and then start formulating the strategy.
Implement the strategy
This is probably the most challenging part of the process as it is the action stage of the strategic Management process. Even though the organization might have created an excellent strategy, it still needs to implement it. Managers should make sure that the work is delegated and everyone within the firm is made clear of their responsibilities and duties. What is more, it is important to bear in mind that strategies might not work and therefore might need to be restructured at some point.
Evaluate and control
As a final step, organisations should look back on the entire process and think about how it went and measure the performance. Perhaps some things might have been done better and could be improved in the future. Moreover, even though the organisation might have succeeded it is important to keep an eye on the strategy, m onitor how it is developing and determine whether the enterprise is moving towards the goal.
Network analysis is a defined plan of strategic implementation. It shows the complexity of a project including the order of activities, their estimated duration and the earliest date of later stages to start.
The analysis is conducted to avoid delaying, minimize resource waste, satisfy customers and increase profitability.
Imagine a barbershop that wants to change its Strategic Direction by adding a women's haircut to its offer. There are several activities that need to be completed in order to make this happen. For example, the owner needs to do Market Research to identify if there would be a demand for such a service. Moreover, the staff has to be either retrained or a new staff has to be hired. There is also a need for new equipment in the salon.
Before implementing the plan, the owner has to identify which activity to start with as there is no point in buying equipment if there is no demand for women's haircuts in the market. Also, before retraining barbers or hiring new employees, the new equipment has to be bought. It is also essential to think about the timing as hiring a new hairdresser might take a lot of time whereas ordering new equipment can be completed within a couple of days. All of these activities have to be analyzed and coordinated in order to save as much time and money as possible.
Critical Path Analysis
There are two components of the critical path analysis (CPA):
Activities - requiring time and/or resources,
Nodes - start or finish of an activity.
Each activity is represented by an arrow running from left to right whereas each node is represented by a circle. Lines should not cross each other and nodes cannot be added before an activity ends.
Drawing from the barbershop example, suppose that it has changed its strategic direction and is now offering a women's haircut service. The business is prospering well and the owner decided to expand by opening up another salon within 64 days.
Based on Figure 1, we can calculate the earliest start time (EST) and the latest finish time (LFT) . While calculating, we need to think about resources that need to be provided and activities which need to be completed before moving on to the next task.
The activities start on day 0. Staff training and salon decoration can start after 40 days, this is when staff is hired and products are ordered. Arranging appointments can start on day 54 (40 + 14 = 54). The earliest when a project can be completed is day 64 (40 + 14 + 10 = 64) . In order to finish the project on time, hiring staff and product orders cannot take more than 40 days. Otherwise, staff training and salon decoration will be delayed. These cannot take more than 14 days because there must be at least 10 days for the appointments to be arranged. Marketing is the only activity that is impossible to be delayed by any other activity. Owing to the latest finish time, we are able to set deadlines which helps us identify the critical path and float time.
Critical path relates to activities that take the most time to complete.
In the case of the barbershop, the longest activities are hiring staff and salon decoration and arranging appointments. If any of these activities is delayed, the entire project will be delayed as well.
Float time (non-critical activities) is the extra time remaining for activities that take less time than others.
Here, ordering products, training staff and marketing. Since hiring staff takes 40 days and ordering products only 7, there is 33 days float time for ordering products. To sum up, total float = LFT - EST.
Strategies are ways in which companies try to achieve their objectives. Unfortunately, they happen to fail as there are many difficulties regarding strategic decision-making and implementation . Firstly, there is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to deciding on what strategy to follow. It is simply hard to decide as it is unpredictable which strategy will be the most successful. Secondly, even if the right strategy has been chosen, it might be hard to make it happen as not everything goes according to plan.
In the case of the barbershop, was the women's haircut a good service to offer? Did the implementation go according to plan?
Planned versus emergent strategy
Planned strategy is an intended strategy based around the planning process. This is when its implementation goes according to the plan and is not interrupted.
Emergent strategy is a strategy that actually happens. This is typically when the implementation does not go according to the plan as certain modifications had to be made to accommodate unplanned changes (ie. changes in the External Environment ).
In the case of the barbershop, if everything went according to the plan, that is a planned strategy. However, if something changed, for example, the new salon opened up a week later, that is an emergent strategy.
Strategic drift is when a strategy has not been adapted to the changing environment and is no longer suitable.
It is typically caused by management distraction which is when Managers focus on other, more important things. In this case, they neglect a strategy and do not adjust it to the new situation. Strategic drift relates to opportunity Cost which is what a company was able to earn, but it did not.
In the case of the barbershop, for example, if there was no demand for the women's haircut and the strategy was managed well, then perhaps a manager would adjust the strategy and try to open a hair salon for children if there was a demand for such a service.
Evaluating strategic performance
Evaluating strategic performance refers to reviewing the strategy and analyzing its outcome.
It focuses on three main aspects:
In the case of the barbershop we could answer the following questions:
How much did the profit increase? Did it increase at all?
Did the company gain more market share?
Did the hair salon open up on time?
Value of strategic and contingency planning
It is essential to make a decision on what strategy to implement. However, in order for the decision to be implemented, it also needs to be planned. Strategic planning allows a decision to be carried out and work successfully. It allows a strategy to be planned, not emergent.
Contingency planning is simply a plan B. It is a backup that can be implemented in case something changes and does not enable the initial plan to be implemented.
In the case of the barbershop, if a company planned to fund a new hair salon from its own funds, but it runs out of money, it needs to have an alternative such as borrowing money from friends or taking out a loan.
Managing Strategic Implementation - Key takeaways
Strategic implementation is a process of turning plans into action using a specified strategy.
The five steps of the strategic implementation process are: define your goals, do the research, create a strategy, implement the strategy, evaluate and control.
Critical path analysis (CPA) consists of activities and nodes. Owing to CPA, we can identify the earliest start time (EST) and the latest finish time (LFT).
Critical path relates to activities that take the most time to complete whereas float time is extra time for activities that take less time than others.
Strategies tend to encounter difficulties regarding strategic decision-making and implementation.
Frequently Asked Questions about Strategic Implementation
--> what are the steps of strategic implementation .
The steps of strategic implementation are:
goal definition, conducting research, devising the strategy, implementation, control, and evaluation.
--> What is strategy implementation with example?
For example, a business, specializing in skin-care products wants to produce hair-care products. Before devising strategies, extensive market research must be done. Based on the research, business can devise and implement strategies.
--> What are the five steps in the strategic planning process?
The five steps in the strategic planning process are:
goal definition, research, strategy creation, implementation, and evaluation.
--> What are the strategic problems a business could face?
Strategic drift is one of the problems a business could face.
Final Strategic Implementation Quiz
Strategic implementation quiz - teste dein wissen.
What is strategy implementation?
As the name suggests, the strategy implementation is simply implementing the strategy. It is a process of turning plans into action. It includes all the activities designed to manage the activities associated with the delivery of the plan.
What is SIP?
Strategic Implementation Plan. It outlines the activities and decisions essential to implement the strategy.
What are the steps of strategic implementation?
Defining the goals, doing the research, creating a strategy, implementing the strategy and evaluating and controlling.
What is meant by defining the goals?
It is simply identifying the goals that the new strategy should achieve.
Why is it important to evaluate the strategy?
To draw conclusions and find out what could have been done better in order to perform better in the future.
Give an example of strategy implementation.
It might be for example developing a new marketing plan to help increase sales of the company's products to consumers.
What are the key strategic problems?
Weak strategy, lack of clarification and skills and lack of control and progress tracking.
What is meant by weak strategy?
It is a strategy that simply does not work because the goals which are to be achieved are set wrong. Strategic goals tend to be large, complex and complicated. Also, very often strategies are simply impossible to be achieved and fail despite all the hard work put into them.
How to solve a problem of lack of clarification and skills?
Make sure that all the employees and people associated with the strategy are made clear of their responsibilities and able to fulfill their obligations. They should be familiar with the entire strategy plan and aware of the next steps.
Why should a strategy be controlled?
Sometimes the strategy needs to be slightly changed in order to achieve the goal.
Give a definition of strategic implementation.
What are the five steps of the strategic implementation process?
define your goals
do the research
create a strategy
implement the strategy
evaluate and control
What does network analysis include?
order of activities, their estimated duration and the earliest date of later stages to start
What are the two components of critical path analysis?
Activities and nodes
What are the nodes in critical path analysis?
Nodes indicate start or finish of an activity
What is EST in critical path analysis?
Earliest start time of an activity
What is LFT in critical path analysis?
Latest finish time of an activity
What does critical path relate to?
What is float time?
Float time (non-critical activities) is an extra time for activities which take less time than others.
How to calculate float time?
total float = LFT - EST
What is the difference between planned and emergent strategy?
Planned strategy is an intended strategy based around the planning process whereas emergent strategy is a strategy which actually happens.
What is strategic drift?
What is opportunity cost?
Opportunity cost is what a company was able to earn, but it did not.
What are the three main aspects one should focus on when evaluating strategic performance?
profit, market share, timescale
What is contingency planning?
Contingency planning is simply a plan B. It is a backup which can be implemented in case something changes and does not enable the initial plan to be implemented.
In critical path analysis, nodes can be added before an activity ends.
The extra time remaining for activities that take less time than others is called...
total float = LFT - ?
This is a strategy that actually happens. This is typically when the implementation does not go according to the plan as certain modifications had to be made to accommodate unplanned changes (ie. changes in the external environment). What strategy is it?
This is when a strategy has not been adapted to the changing environment and is no longer suitable. What is it?
A company planned to fund a new hair salon with its own funds, but it runs out of money, it needs to have an alternative such as borrowing money from friends or taking out a loan. The company is doing the __ planning.
What does LFT stand for?
latest finish time
Critical path relates to activities that take the least time to complete.
What is the following formula for?
? = LFT - EST
___ strategy is an intended strategy based around the planning process.
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- Human Resources
- Introduction to Business
- Nature of Business
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A 6-step guide to strategy implementation
Reading time: about 8 min
But simply having a strategic plan does not guarantee success. Much of your success will depend on your strategy implementation and how willing employees are to adopt it.
What is strategy implementation?
Strategy implementation is the fourth, and possibly the most important, step in the strategic management process . It refers to the process you will use to translate chosen strategies into organizational actions that will help you achieve specific goals and objectives.
Basically, the strategy implementation process defines what you will do to ensure the proper execution of plans, policies, and procedures across the entire organization. It includes the methods your organization will use to develop, use, and combine your organizational structure, resources, control systems, and culture to follow defined strategies. This will lead to better and more consistent performance and to a competitive edge in your market.
By making the entire organization the focus of your strategic implementation plan, you get a better understanding of organizational capabilities . This helps you to address the who, what, where, when, and how of completing tasks and achieving goals.
Why is strategy implementation important?
A lot of planning consists of brainstorming ideas where the whole team participates, communicates with each other, and shares ideas. Successful strategy implementation requires a team effort. It’s a great tool for bringing everybody together to share ideas and come to a consensus. In addition, strategy implementation translates your team’s ideas into real world actionable items. It inspires confidence and productivity when your team sees that they’ve come up with ideas that will actually work.
A strategic implementation plan is also important because it can help you to identify areas where you might need more resources (hardware, software, human) and support to successfully execute your strategic plan. This can help you to improve efficiency, quality, and customer satisfaction.
Six steps to a successful strategy implementation plan
Use the following six-step strategy implementation process to ensure successful execution of your strategy.
Step 1: Have an action plan
Before you can implement anything, you and your team need to know what you are implementing. This means that you need to have a clear, concise, and compelling strategic implementation plan that makes sense for your company and can be easily communicated to stakeholders.
To ensure that messaging is clear and consistent when communicating your implementation plan to stakeholders and team members, you can develop a strategic planning framework . A framework is like a blueprint or visual outline that helps you to explain to stakeholders how you are working towards your vision, purpose, and goals.
The framework for your strategic plan should include the following elements:
- Your overall goal or objective.
- Strategic drivers or pillars: The internal and external forces that shape your company’s strategy.
- Projects and initiatives: A list of the projects and initiatives involved in your strategy aligned with the drivers or pillars.
Step 2: Set clear goals
Define your goals and describe the processes that will be used to help team members reach those goals. The list should include shared goals —the goals that the entire team has agreed to work on to successfully complete the project. Shared goals help to keep the team focused and motivated, as opposed to goals created from the top down without the input of the people who will actually work on the project.
Make sure that your goals align with the entire company’s goals, vision, and values. Review and evaluate your goals often and revise as appropriate if there are any that don’t currently align with corporate goals.
Consider creating a visual document to display these goals along with their timelines. Visual documents are generally easier to read and understand at a glance than text alone. Use a whiteboarding application such as Lucidchart to create a visual document that you can display in a prominent location. This way the team can see where they are, where they need to go, and stay on top of any changes and updates.
Step 3: Assign responsibilities and roles
You need to determine what roles are needed for the project. Then decide who is best suited to be assigned to each role. To help you determine who is best for each role, create a business capability map . This map should include the capacity of your business to do the work that needs to be done, including available resources such as employees, teams, equipment, materials, and where all of them are located.
Be sure you communicate who is responsible for what. This improves accountability among team members and makes the project more transparent for all interested parties. Also, make sure that everybody understands the expectations and timelines for their assignments. Set up a communication process that must be followed so that there are no surprises and nothing falls through the cracks during the project.
Set up a strong leadership structure so your teams know who the decision-makers are and who they can go to when they need support. Good leaders can drive the strategy forward, keep the project on track, and step in to help solve problems if they come up.
Step 4: Execute your strategic plan
When everybody knows their roles and assignments, it’s time to roll out the strategic plan. Monitor progress to ensure that processes are running smoothly. This will help you to identify problems and revise processes if needed.
Step 5: Get progress updates and communicate often
Be sure to communicate often with your teams. Frequent updates can help to bolster morale on your various teams. Provide frequent feedback to keep team members productive and to keep up team and individual morale. Good feedback can help your teams to stay focused and motivated to real goals and maintain productivity.
Report progress so stakeholders and senior management know what is going on. Progress reports can help you know what is or isn’t working so you can reassign resources as needed or tweak processes to keep things moving.
Lucidchart can help you to create visual progress reports . Display these reports where everybody can easily see them. This helps your team to know what’s been done and what still needs to be done. It also helps leaders to see where they might need to assign additional resources to keep the project on schedule.
Step 6: Stay focused on the strategy
Don’t get distracted by new tasks or projects that don’t fit within the current overall strategy. Some things might need to be placed in the backlog if they don’t align with your strategy. Then after you have finished the current project, you can look at the backlog to see what items make sense for future strategic plans and projects.
Common challenges of strategic implementation plans
Even with a great strategy and a great plan, you can still run into some challenges as you implement your strategy. Here are a few of the challenges you might face:
- Not assigning the right people to the right responsibilities : Some people might have some experience doing certain tasks, but that doesn’t mean they are right for the job at this particular time. Maybe an expert is more suited for this project so deadlines are consistently met
- Not measuring goals/success : If you don’t measure your goals, you won’t be able to tell if you’re making any progress. It’s kind of like using your phone’s GPS system—you can tell your phone where you want to go, but if it doesn’t know where you currently are, it won’t be able to plot the fastest and most efficient path to get there. Making your goals measurable lets you see where you are and where you need to go. This keeps you focused and on the best path to achieve your goals.
- Overcommitting : In addition to being measurable, goals need to be achievable. Sometimes it can be hard to say no to certain features and options because they would work well in your project. But you need to be realistic about what you can actually deliver within a given timeframe with the resources that you have. Commit to only what you can actually achieve in this project. Anything else can be put in the backlog for a future iteration
- Not enough support : Employees need to feel like they have the support of their supervisors and other team members. Support ensures that everybody works as a team and helps to prevent silos from forming.
With a strong implementation plan in place, your strategy will have a much better chance of succeeding. By ensuring your strategic plan is accessible to your entire time in a shared visual workspace, you’ll be better able to keep people on the same page as you innovate.
Get a free trial of Lucidspark and start building out a strategic plan.
Lucidspark, a cloud-based virtual whiteboard, is a core component of Lucid Software's Visual Collaboration Suite. This cutting-edge digital canvas brings teams together to brainstorm, collaborate, and consolidate collective thinking into actionable next steps—all in real time. Lucid is proud to serve top businesses around the world, including customers such as Google, GE, and NBC Universal, and 99% of the Fortune 500. Lucid partners with industry leaders, including Google, Atlassian, and Microsoft. Since its founding, Lucid has received numerous awards for its products, business, and workplace culture. For more information, visit lucidspark.com.
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