Over the years we have developed numerous plans and strategy documents for our clients –business management plans, sustainability plans, health and safety management plans, emergency response plans.
Developing a plan is one thing, but unless the plan is implemented successfully with full management and employee buy-in and ongoing review, it is just a few (or many) pieces of paper.
Regardless of the purpose of a plan or strategy, there are a number of basic steps that can help to ensure successful implementation. Consultant R. Berg in his blog, 5 essential steps to successful strategy implementation lists these as:
- Remove barriers
- Monitor and review.
Commitment – A plan cannot be carried out once and then put aside. Similarly a new strategy is pointless if everyone continues to do what they have always done. Implementing a new way of doing things is an ongoing commitment. EVERYONE in the organisation must be on board over the long term. This is only likely to happen if management is, and is seen to be, committed to the plan or strategy and employees are shown how it will benefit them. Being committed to something is easy when everyone’s interests are aligned with a common goal.
Communication – The people ‘on the ground’ are the ones most likely to face hazards from the work being done. They are also the ones in the best position to determine how things could be done better. So ask them. Not just once, but on a regular basis. Seek out different points of view, get people talking and even debating, engage influential employees onto the planning committee as a conduit between management and workers. If you want everyone to be part of the solution you must invite them to be part of the process.
Implementation – It would seem obvious, but the actual implementation must be realistic in terms of deployment dates, key deliverables, available resources and budget. Unachievable deadlines lead to demotivation and burn out. Lack of resources leads to frustration and a feeling that management is not really committed to the strategy. It is management’s responsibility to ensure that employees can implement change without obstacles and resistance. This includes adequate training and ongoing support.
Remove barriers – There will be barriers. Expect them. Have a plan ready to overcome them. Use real time monitoring and analysis of the implementation process to predict and prepare for future issues2.
Monitoring and review – Continuous monitoring and control is essential to the success of any plan or project. Communicate about the roll out of the plan, any changes that are to be made, and how this will affect everyone involved. Celebrate successes along the way. Celebrating the small changes and building momentum for bigger changes are what makes employees want to participate in the process.
“Strategy is not just a document written by executive teams and filed in the CEO’s desk. It is a vision for the organisation, owned by the organisation. And to succeed the whole organisation must engage with it and live and breathe it.” R. Berg.
- Berg, R, 5 Essential Steps to Successful Strategy Implementation, http://bergconsulting.com.au/Berg_Consulting_Blog/5-essential-steps-to-successful-strategy-implementation
- Srivastava S, 5 Best Practices for Successful Project Implementation, https://www.projecttimes.com/articles/5-best-practices-for-successful-project-implementation.html