So You Have a Plan — Now What?

For those businesses that have a plan in place, wasting time and energy on the planning process and then not implementing the plan is discouraging. Although implementation may not be the most exciting topic to talk about, it's a fundamental business practice that's critical for any strategy to take hold. As I discuss in Chapter 3, the strategic plan addresses the what and why of activities, but implementation addresses the who, where, when, and how. The fact is that both the plan and implementing the plan are critical to success. In fact, companies can gain competitive advantage through implementation if done effectively.

In the following sections, you discover how to get support for your complete implementation plan and how to avoid common mistakes.

Avoiding the pitfalls

In this section, I provide a list of lessons I learned the hard way. Because you want your plan to succeed, heed the advice here and stay away from the pitfalls of implementing your strategic plan.

image Here are the most common reasons strategic plans fail:

  • Annual strategy: Strategy is discussed only at yearly weekend retreats.
  • Getting mired in the day-to-day: Owners and managers, consumed by daily operating problems, lose sight of long-term goals.
  • Lack of communication: The plan doesn't get communicated to employees often enough.
  • Lack of empowerment: Although accountability may provide ...

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