Good Strategic Plans Die From Lousy Accountability

Dion Kenney
Posted on: 03/15/19
Written by: Dion Kenney

patrick-untersee-1160529-unsplash (2)How do you maintain accountability with your strategic plan? One of the best ways is to use peer pressure! Nobody enjoys standing up and acknowledging that he or she has failed to live up to his or her commitments. So, be sure to schedule frequent (monthly) meetings of the strategic planning team to review the status of action items.

Typical agenda items are:

  1. Report on status of action items (from those responsible for each).

  2. Identify barriers encountered.

  3. Determine mid-course corrections.

  4. Provide help for those responsible for implementation.

  5. Set new target date.

Be sure to communicate results of these progress meetings to the entire staff so that everyone knows that the firm is serious about implementing the plan. Don’t let the cynics get the upper hand! And, if someone misses more than one target date, either kill the action item or assign it to someone else.

Of course, no matter how well conceived your strategy may be, opportunities will arise that weren’t envisioned. If you stick to the plan too rigidly, new opportunities will die. On the other hand, if you’re too undisciplined in following the plan, new opportunities can crowd out strategic initiatives. To avoid these pitfalls, schedule regular (quarterly) “Strategic Initiative Meetings” (SIM). Unlike the meetings focused on tactical execution meetings, the following ground rules will make your SIMs effective:

  1. Require that ideas for new initiatives be submitted prior to the meeting.

  2. Confine the discussions to ideas that are truly strategic…don’t discuss the most efficient location for the trash cans.

  3. Record and distribute action items following the meetings.

With any strategic plan, it is absolutely critical to stay focused on the long-term vision. Near-term tactics and strategies may change during the course of the execution, but the long-term vision should not. If it becomes clear that the vision is flawed or misguided, it is time for a new strategic plan.

 

 

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Strategic planning, done right, can drive your firm to new levels of profitability and productivity. Done wrong, it can become an expensive exercise in frustration. You’ll see both sides, and learn how to make sure your next plan execution is a resounding success, with PSMJ’s new A/E/C Strategic Planning Executive Survey Report.  This plain-English briefing provides hard data and candid comments drawn from PSMJ’s February 2019 survey of 157 principals and executives in A/E/C.

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