Business leaders are always looking for new ways to reach their goals; however, it is common for businesses to develop strategic plans and then fail to put them into action. Strategic plans are simply wasted efforts if they are not properly operationalized. Operationalize simply means putting a plan into operation or use. This involves monitoring milestones, getting others in the workplace involved, and making the strategic plan a component of your daily operation. When business leaders operationalize their strategic business plans, they can meet their goals faster and accomplish more over a period of time.
Four Keys to Operationalize a Strategic Business Plan
1. Be Committed
Strategic business plans are easy to come by but much harder to implement and maintain. The hard part is not creating a strategic business plan but operationalizing it. Do not just create a plan and hope that it is successful. Instead, be committed to your plan and encourage others to participate in putting it into action. This may require that you step up as a leader and guide others through the plan.
Begin with broader goals and objectives so that the plan does not feel too overwhelming. Choose several larger goals that you want to achieve in the future, and then gradually break these broader goals down into smaller objectives. Create schedules and timelines to help ensure that the work is completed on time to avoid delays and disruptions in your plan. This will allow you to visually see your company move towards your vision.
2. Get Everyone Involved
One of the biggest mistakes that a company can make when attempting to operationalize a strategic business plan is limiting the number of people that know about it. It is not just the top-level management that should be in on your future goals; it should be everyone from CEOs to entry level employees. For a strategic business plan to really be successful, everyone in the workplace needs to play some sort of role in its implementation.
A strategic business plan is much more likely to get swept to the wayside when just a handful of people know about it. By engaging the entire company, you can encourage positive change and more people can help your goals take form. After the strategic plan is completed, top level management can put the plan into action and watch as it becomes operational in all departments.
3. Make Smart Decisions
Once your strategic business plan has taken action, you can use it as a guide for future decision-making. Use the research and information you have gathered through the process to discover new opportunities, identify risks, and make more informed decisions about your company’s future. By understanding where your business stands now and where it is headed, you can better determine how new opportunities may fit into your strategic plan.
When you choose to operationalize a strategic business plan, you can set milestones and monitor your progress along the way. This can help you better determine if you are likely to meet your goals by the end of the year and if the progress you are making is aligning with your objectives. An operationalized plan can also help leaders make more intelligent decisions about time management and investments.
4. Stay Flexible
While you may have specific goals and objectives for your company’s future, things do not always go as planned. It is important to be flexible with your strategic business plan so that the plan can be easily updated, revised, and adjusted as needed throughout the year. When you are consistently monitoring and tracking your business plan, you can more easily spot problems, make necessary changes in your environment to support your ideas, or even implement a new business plan if the previous one falls through.
As you operationalize your strategic business plan, you may find that you need to reassign or rearrange tasks to ensure that the work is completed correctly by staff that has the proper knowledge and skills. Operationalized business plans are frequently updated and modified so that they remain an accurate reflection of a company’s mission and goals. This means that business leaders need to remain open to change and do the work necessary to ensure a satisfactory outcome.
Operationalize Strategic Business Plans
It is important to understand that an operationalized strategic business plan is not an instant solution to your company’s problems, but can be useful nonetheless. When an effective leader is able to hold him or herself accountable for future business plans, the rest of the organization is likely to gradually implement these behaviors. Over time, this can result in goals that are met sooner and with greater accuracy. For more information about how to operationalize a strategic business plan or to hire a consultant for assistance, contact the Eastham Group.