So You Have A Strategic Annual Plan - Now What?

By Ryan Walcott

dateFri, Feb 10, 2012 @ 06:13 AM

So you have a strategic plan?  That's awesome!  Congratulations!  You are doing better than the majority of the companies doing business these days.  So now what?   What do you do to get this plan done?

I'm going to share with you 3 simple (not easy) steps:

  1.  Picture Success
  2. Create Quarterly Execution Plans
  3. Track Plan Execution & Adjust

Like I said, the steps are simple, but not necessarily easy.  Now let's dig into each step.

Step 1 - Picture Success

Are you able to visualize what success for the year looks like and clearly communicate that to your company?  If not, then dig through your objectives for the year with your team and work to determine what the essence of the plan really is.  What short phrase will clearly communicate to your company what the year is all about and what they are working to achieve?  Then make that public.  Everyone should know what success for the year looks like so that they can think of how they will work together to achieve it.  *Note: check that your yearly success is a step towards reaching your BHAG!

This step will get your team FOCUSED on the objective for the year.

Step 2 - Create Quarterly Execution Plans

This is the step most companies never get to.  They work on an annual plan and then put it in a desk drawer after the planning session never to be seen again.  This step involves critical thinking about how the initiatives for the year will get done.  Specifically who, will do what, by when.  

Break down each of the top goals for the year into quarterly chunks.  Then determine who will own each of those items in each quarter and what success AND failure looks like on each of them.  This will become the beginning of your quarterly plan for each quarter of the year.

This step will get your team energy ALIGNED to achieve success.

Step 3 - Track Plan Execution & Adjust

Next, for each of the quarterly chunks that now have owners and success criteria, create a 13 week dashboard to track how well you are doing each week of the quarter to achieve success on your plan.  Here is an example of the Rhythm Dashboard

Gazelles Systems Rhythm Dashboard

Each team member should indicate how well they are doing executing to achieve the plan objective for the quarter.  The easiest way to visualize this is by using the colors Red, Yellow, and Green to status the goal.

  • A Green status means you are on track to achieve plan success.
  • A Yellow status means that you believe you are behind and will not achieve success unless corrective action is taken soon.  
  • And a Red status means that if things don't change, we will fail to achieve this objective this quarter.

Then review these statuses and discuss adjustments to your plan needed to achieve Green in a weekly meeting with your team.

This step will hold your team ACCOUNTABLE to achieve success.

So there you have it.  Three simple (not easy) steps to get your strategic plan done.

Now you know what to do.  And knowing is half the battle.  :-)   Go get it done



Ryan Walcott


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images