If your copy of your company's strategic plan doesn't have dog-eared pages and coffee stains by mid-year, you're not getting the most out of your plan.

 

The power of the plan is that it has the potential to engage people at every level of your organization in striving to meet company goals.

 

Far too often, strategic plans are written so they can be put away and ignored, which is almost never successful in achieving your goals.

 

The first step in implementing your strategic plan is to communicate its contents to the people who are subjected by it.  This communication piece is critical because supervisors need to understand first what the strategic plan contains and what is the intent of the plan before they can communicate it to others.

 

Once the supervisors understand the plan and its intent, they should communicate their understanding to frontline employees.  Research has shown that frontline employees prefer to get the information about corporate goals and strategic planning from their supervisor.

 

Doing a session with smaller teams and groups within the company gives individuals an opportunity to look at the strategic plan in detail. They can ask questions, pick it apart (not in order to edit into something different), and ask all their questions to learn as much as they can on how it will affect their work performance.

 

It is vital to have someone in the session who was involved in creating the strategic plan, so this person can explain what was intended by specific words.

 

The second step is to get people involved as you communicate the plan.

 

Creating individual or team performance plans focus on employee questions of, "Given that these are the goals of the organization, how does my job fit into these goals? How do I make a difference? How do I help the company reach toward achieving the goals set out in the strategic plan?"

 

The third step is to keep it before the people.  It is critical that organization leaders continually refer back to the strategic plan and say, "This is how what we are doing fits our strategic plan."

 

All reporting on performance goals should refer back to the plan. "This action supports our strategic goal of people management." "This activity supports our strategic goal of production."  Employees must clearly and repeatedly see that all company actions link to the strategic plan.

 

The fourth step is to conscientiously live the values expressed in your strategic plan.   Strategic plans usually include company values, which your leaders must live by example so that all employees live the company values.

 

Keep the Plan Alive Throughout the Year

 

Include regular progress updates toward strategic goals in your organization's communication channels.  Bring the planning team back together once a quarter to review the plan and track progress.

 

Showcase teams or individuals who are directly impacting the success of the plan in company communication vehicles. Most importantly, celebrate milestones reached along the way.

 

 

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