Part 9: Strategic Planning – The Meeting: Assigning Actions/Tasks
By: Jonny Baker, Senior Manager, Strategic Management Consulting Services
The following is part nine of a nine-part series on strategic planning. This blog series includes identifying the need for strategic planning, setting a level playing field, defining the organization and its purpose, and selecting the initiatives, goals, and actions that will make the organization successful.
With strategy and goals set, we must now assign actions and tasks to ensure follow-through. This is a tough proposition for most of those in the room. First, you have eager types willing to take on so much that they will likely fail or fail trying and then others that refer to themselves as “idea people.” The organization must own initiatives, and to do so leadership must own a chunk as well and be willing to enter the trenches with their managers, otherwise, the line leaders will not buy-in, resulting in failed efforts and energy.
Which leaders and employees will be responsible for what actions or tasks? If your strategic plan has not fallen apart based on any of the scenarios discussed in previous installments, then lack of ownership is the last barrier standing between you and success. Ownership is the actual “how” the goals will be achieved for your organization. This is where the organization, its leaders, and its people must get tactical.
Let’s borrow from our previous example, where we set goals based on customer engagement and CRM systems. First, let’s take the first goal we used and cascade the actions and tasks required to achieve it:
- End of Q1, CRM implemented and live:
- January: Internal Marketing Director to identify and meet with three recommended outside vendors for your organization’s CRM system design, development, and implementation.
- February: Internal Marketing Director’s recommendation to be presented to Vice President of Marketing for approval.
- Once approved, the contract should be drawn up, reviewed, and then approved by the Marketing Director, the VP of Marketing, and your team of Legal Consultants.
- In your files, keep the signed and executed contract from the vendor.
- March: CRM system should be designed, developed, and implemented by March 15.
- User acceptance testing should be performed by March 15-22.
- Plan for a soft launch around March 23-30.
- Finally, announce to your organization that your CRM system is live by March 31.
All of the actions listed above are very clear on what must be accomplished by each team member to meet your first goal.
One item we should point out is that it is critical that those employees carrying out these endeavors are involved in the strategic planning process. After all, these are the individuals who will be interacting with your customers, managing your new processes, and ensuring the day-to-day activities are being handled in a consistent and efficient manner. An article in the Harvard Business Review highlights that 95% of company employees are unaware of or do not understand the company’s ultimate strategy.
For your goals to be accomplished, the Vice President of Marketing must check-in monthly (at a minimum) to see that the Director has what they need to continually meet the previously determined timeline. Even better, create an environment where the Director is proactively seeking items needed to accomplish the actions and tasks assigned. If, when checking in, it is determined that more time is needed to put your goals into action due to legitimate reasons, it is okay for your team to adapt and update your strategic plan accordingly. As part of your strategic planning process, monitoring of actions and tasks is extraordinarily key. You must have unification of goals and actions across all levels of your team and organization. The success of your plan rides on these aspects that must be monitored; sometimes, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. within all levels of the organization.
At KHA Management Consultants, we have experience working with organizations on Strategic Planning. We facilitate the process with the organization’s key constituents to ensure buy-in, ownership, and a new way of thinking about the organization and its stakeholders among all levels of employees. From a resource perspective, we primarily use our experience but also tap into the top-level resources such as those provided by Harvard Business Review and MentorPlus. Some of those materials, frameworks, and lessons have been used in writing this blog.
KHA Management Consultants, the consulting wing of KHA Accountants, PLLC, based in Flower Mound, Texas, is always looking for key clients ready to take their business to the next level. If you have a desire to improve, take the first step toward success with the strategic planning experts, and contact us at 972-221-2500.