A ton of your time, money and energy can go into a strategic plan. Once the plan is “done” there will likely be momentum for achieving key outcomes. But as the weeks slide by, and you and your colleagues are busy keeping up with everything that was already on your plate, the ideas that came from strategic thinking can dissolve in both urgency and engagement.
Working closely with businesses large and small, here are some guidelines that I’ve found can keep your strategic initiatives in play:
- Map it out: Create a six month or one year roadmap that simply identifies for each project: lead, timeline, milestones, resources needed.
- Let it Breathe: Consider the roadmap a living document that is regularly updated to reflect changes in your business and is adaptable to new information. Clearly identify who is responsible for this document. Tip: A quick way to visually track progress on multiple projects is flagging them as green, yellow or red.
- Clear accountability: Name someone as the Strategic Champion or a team as the Strategic Steering Committee. This person(s) is not responsible for doing everything on the plan. They are responsible for making sure projects move forward and are accomplished.
- Keep it going: Meet and report on strategic projects at least quarterly. Make this a separate meeting from other business and allow plenty of time for deeper dives on your top strategic priorities.
- Engage people in the How: As leaders you’ve vetted and identified the What (strategic priorities) and the Where (Vision) you are taking the business. Engage others down the line, or even outside the company to help define How you’ll get there. Tip: Being asked to participate on a strategic project can be just what younger professionals need to stay engaged and grow their skills.