After the process of strategic planning has been completed, the process for your organisation becomes one of maintenance – keeping the momentum going throughout the year while so many other things are coming at your people.
Distractions abound, and it can be easy to veer off-track. Part of our job is to help companies put their strategy into practice over the following year, and this means initiating a strategy maintenance process. This process carries your organisation through the year and beyond, enabling you to continue to implement strategy while also giving you the space to pivot if required.
What essential components should be part of your strategic maintenance?
The 90-day plan
The aim of the 90-day plan is to break down major strategic goals into smaller, achievable chunks. This helps everyone in the organisation to understand departmental strategy at a micro level and to see what goals need to be reached now in order to produce results in a year’s time.
The 90-day plan is a living document that forms the basis for reporting lines, team projects and leadership initiatives over each quarter. At the end of the quarter this document can be reviewed and revised, with new goals added, to create forward momentum toward those longer-term strategic goals.
Holding good meetings
Part of the maintenance process of strategic planning involves getting leaders and stakeholders together for meetings to look over numbers and plan strategy.
People find meetings frustrating because all-too-often they become a monotonous talk-fest – a lot of talking but nothing is decided, nothing actioned, and no accountability is created. Without solid co-ordination and direction, meeting conversation can lead off into all kinds of directions, carrying with it your carefully constructed strategic maintenance plan. Meetings are a leadership opportunity for you to lead and influence.
Meetings need to be a platform for robust conversation, especially about strategic initiatives. Trust has to exist, enabling healthy conflict as leaders challenge each other’s ideas to bring about the best decisions for the company.
It sounds simple, but creating this environment isn’t easy. One tactic we like is to keep these strategy maintenance and review meetings short and to-the-point. You don’t need elaborate minutes or a strict agenda, and a quick Who What by When (WWW) matrix helps to bring accountability into the team.
Communicate strategy maintenance globally
It can be easy for employees – especially those lower down the ladder – to forget about overall strategic goals. This could be a fault in the way you communicated those strategic decisions originally, but more likely it’s simply that they’ve become inundated with the everyday tasks that keep the company business-as-usual ticking along. That’s not a bad thing, but it means that communications around strategy need to be continuous if you want everyone to be on board.
A simple weekly meeting where goals and projects are brought back to strategic principles can do wonders, as can a regular strategic email or other communication. This is as much about fostering a culture of leadership and ownership as it is about communication. Remember that everyone in your company has a stake in its future, so involve everyone as actively as possible in securing that future.
How does your company fare with strategic maintenance? For more information on successful strategic planning, download our free guide, The Four Cornerstones of Strategic Execution.