By Kristin Larsen
Ad2 Reno Public Service Co-Director & M3 Planning Marketer/Web Designer

Knowing the way and traveling the path are two different things. Even the best strategic plan is worthless if no follows it. An organization must execute the plan to see the benefits in the results. By regularly tracking metrics specified in the plan and reviewing results, it can be easy to keep the plan top of mind and grasp what is working, what isn’t and what needs improvement.
Having an evidence-based approach to your work is the best way to drive improvement organization-wide. By enabling your team to know the plan, they will know what are your organization’s top priorities, how to achieve them, what they are responsible for, and how to measure success.

It’s critical to put a plan into practice and for many organizations, that’s where even the best laid plans go awry. Follow these steps to keep your organization on track:

  1. Track plan metrics: As specified in the side column “Make Your Goals SMART,” it’s important for each objective, strategy and tactic to be measureable. It’s just as important to track the results for each of them, so you have a clear idea of your progress. It’s a good idea to record the results weekly, monthly or quarterly depending on your business cycle. If you wait any longer than quarterly, you risk making your plan irrelevant.
  2. Hold regular strategy review sessions: Having a monthly or quarterly review serves a couple of purposes.
    • Firstly, by reviewing the results with your team you can celebrate successes and identify areas that need improvement. Having cold hard data also makes it easier for managers to assess performance.
    • Secondly, it helps to keep the plan priorities top of mind, so each team member is focused on the parts of the plan that have been assigned to them. Together their efforts help to achieve the top level goals and objectives.
    • Thirdly, before or during these meetings, give staff the opportunity to give an honest assesment of what is working and what are stumbling blocks. This make it possible to identify solutions and new opportunities to take advantage of. When the lines of communication are open, it’s easier to work as a team.

Remember, sometimes a strategic plan needs to be adjusted to reflect the new needs or abilities of the organization or department. That’s fine. A strategic plan should be nimble. Just make sure to include those changes in your plan so everyone is up-to date. Identifing those needed shifts in strategy early is a benefit of having monthly or quarterly reviews.

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Even More Resources…

More resources on this and other topics are available from Reno-based M3 Planning, a strategic planing firm and the authors of “Planning For Dummies.”

About the Author

- I am a recovering adrenaline junkie turned tech geek - I started out as a breaking news reporter and have since dove headlong into the wondrous world of website design, marketing and multimedia production.

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