Keeping Your Strategic Plan On Track

Having an effective Strategic Plan can be crucial for the success of any organization. Having a mission, vision and core values helps motivate your team and keep them working together on a common path toward common goals. But there are common stumbling blocks to effective implementation of Strategic Plans. Often plans are well-intended but not followed through, getting “shelved” after everyone pats each other on the back for putting the plan together.

How can you be sure your plan is actually implemented and doesn’t languish as your team loses interest or gets distracted from it? One method is to regularly communicate the plan’s current status to the team and the leaders implementing it. This requires at least one person dedicated to regularly polling the individual “champions” of each Key Result Area or Goal for an estimated completion percentage and then putting that information into a written or graphical summary.

One method of tracking progress effectively can be done in a spreadsheet using different tabs for listing Key Result Areas, Goals, Objectives, champions, timeline dates, etc. and tabs for presenting the progress in different formats. For presentation, to Boards of Directors or other high-level entities, the information may be distilled to eliminate task-level information, and color-coded with green/yellow/red to easily see what is completed, in progress, or not started/stalled, similar to what is shown in the image above.

For organization-wide or public consumption, the information may be distilled further to Key Result Area and Goal-level information only and conveyed with some type of easily read graphics such as is shown in the image below. This allows the information to be quickly and easily understood, not requiring a lot of time or effort on the part of the reader, but effectively communicating the current status of the plan.

The polling of those implementing the plan is typically performed on a monthly or quarterly basis. Ideally, it is done as part of the regular duties of the Strategic Plan’s leaders, committee or task force who are monitoring progress and addressing any identified lack of progress with necessary assistance. Regular tracking provides feedback to identify a lack of resources, funding, support or focus on certain goals and helps inform necessary remedies or course corrections.

Perhaps most importantly, however, this method of regular updates can be used to effectively communicate progress to your team and maintain their focus to keep your Strategic Plan on track!

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