Strategic planning and budgeting season is almost upon us. Defining
the strategy and approach to market to help your company outperform the
industry is the most important thing you can do as a leader. However, there is
a very high failure rate of actually achieving the goals stated in these plans.
Are you like the majority of companies struggling to execute, or are you
ensuring your organization sees your critical initiatives through to ensure
strong business results? Where ever you stand, this article can help you
understand the importance of sticking to your strategy for sustainable success.
It Starts with the Plan
Before you can get on a path to positive results, you need to
finalize your plan. After months of meetings, discussions and way too many PowerPoint
revisions, the time has come — your strategic plan is ready to launch. You’ve
chosen your organization’s top three initiatives that need to be completed to
achieve the plan. Your teams and resources are prepared to ideate each
initiative and come up with the go-forward investment and strategy for
execution. You’ve even come up with KPIs and ways of measuring its success.
Finally, your team and agency partners develop a unique
program to leverage the initiative out in the market and you present the plan at the national sales meeting.
Check. Check. Check. Check. You’ve checked off all the steps
(or so you think).
Launch and Leave
You are done! You take a deep breath. You’ve finally launched the initiative out to the market. Time for the next thing on your list, right?
Unfortunately, this is where most companies stop. I refer to it as “launch and leave” — launching a critically important project and then abandoning it for the next thing on your company’s check list.
In The Balanced Scorecard, authors David Norton and Robert Kaplan note that 90% of organizations fail to successfully execute their strategies. The CEOs they interviewed stated that lack of execution is the single largest reason their business goals aren’t met. All the work, resources and time companies pour into strategic planning will not impact the bottom line unless it gets executed. Plain and simple.
Launch, Learn and Love
To ensure tangible results from their strategic plan,
companies need to “launch, learn and love.” New initiatives and plans need to
be nurtured, measured and optimized. Schedule frequent meetings to determine
what’s working and what needs to be eliminated or enhanced along the way. Take
every opportunity as a chance to learn from the wins and losses. Whether it’s joint
sales team calls, operation updates or ongoing VOC, if it’s truly a critical
initiative, treat it like one. Embed your organizational focus into executing the
plan at all levels.
Don’t abandon the plan for tactical items like distributor
golf outings, trade shows in non-important sectors or updating marketing
materials for products that turn the lowest profit. The hardest thing to do during
strategic planning is deciding what not
to do versus what to do.
I truly believe you make more money saying no to things than you
do to saying yes. Make sure you and your team are saying no to non-critical
items and showing the love to that one initiative your organization has defined
as critical to your company’s success.
When you let fear stand in the way of growth, you’re failing. Sure, it feels great to be comfortable but if you stay stagnant and avoid taking risks, you’re essentially hurting your business and chances for exceptional growth.
Looking forward, we’re expecting big changes in the construction industry. It’s time to get prepared so you can prevent commotion in your operations and come out ahead. In this post, Bill takes us through his forecast of the future to help you understand what’s expected over the next few years.