Every great organization conducts a strategic planning session, of some sort, every few years, which produces a strategic plan that, in the majority of cases, goes no where.

Forbes.com suggests that most organisations don’t do a very good job with ‘life after publishing’ when it comes to the strategic plan.  For various and sundry reasons, these plans often just sit on the shelf and collect dust.

In our recent book, The 7 Elements of Strategy Execution, Mona Mitchell and I boil the ‘life after publication” down to 7 things we should think about to help us bridge that gap between strategy and execution.  There is lots to think about. 

But what is the first thing we should think about or do right after the plan comes back from the publishing house?  What is step #1 to give our new plan the best chance of survival?

During out three years of research and interviews preparing to write the book, I had a wonderful discussion with a friend and former bank executive in Toronto. He talked about his CEO at the time who was now in charge of a new entity as a result of a very large merger between two banks. 

He learned a big lesson at the time and I pass this to you as my #1 step that I would follow to give my plan the best chance of success.

Here is what my friend heard from that CEO. “Tell people what you are doing, why you’re doing it and tell them what’s in it for them or how they fit into the picture.  And then, tell them again and again throughout the year.“

My advice for your 1st step: build a communication plan. Don’t just communicate, build a PLAN to communicate.  What is the message, how are you going to communicate it, who will communicate it, when will you communicate it and who is going to get it?   

In all aspects of our professional lives, a good plan will ensure that things get done. Without a plan, things slip, we get busy and move onto to other seemingly important things.

If communication is the key ingredient to strategy success, plan it.  Don’t just wing it.

What is your first step after the strategic plan is published? Build a communications plan to ensure that everyone knows what is going on and what’s in it for them and that they hear this message repeatedly throughout the year.

 

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