Changing the Way the World Thinks about Strategy

Execution failure is the most frequent cause of strategy failure.  Good execution makes all the difference in the strategic planning process.  This article will show you the key to good execution.

Author, M. Dana Baldwin

Author, M. Dana Baldwin

Near the completion of the strategic planning process, we select objectives

SMART objectives must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, with Results stated in a Timely way.  The objectives are those things which must be accomplished in order to carry out our strategies.  They will not happen without a formal, step-by-step process to complete them.  This process is defined by written action plans.  Action plans consist of all of the actions required for the achievement of the objective.  The actions are arranged in proper sequence.  They must contain an active verb.  Action plans assign appropriate personnel  to each step.  Each step specifies the input time required (not elapsed time), the cost and the start and completion dates, which will be established later during scheduling.

The other component of execution is the monitoring of the action plans on a regular basis

Action plans should be updated once a month.  Although the action plan assigns times and dates to each step, it does not lock the team into a rigid situation.  When things occur that prevent the completion of one or more steps as planned and scheduled, the team has two options: Perhaps the time can be made up, so the plan can get back on schedule.  If the time can’t be made up, the schedule should be revised to reflect realistic completion dates.

If the team discovers new information which changes the objective or the actual steps in the action plan, monitoring gives the team the flexibility to revise and update the objective and/or action plan to reflect the current situation and to keep control over the process and timing of the action plan.

The combination of the action plan, scheduling and the monitoring process keeps things realistic and on schedule.  If you have problems keeping your planning and execution on time, please let me help you.  Contact me at 616-575-3193 or

How well are you executing your strategic plan?  Attend the Simplified Strategic Planning Seminar to learn more about executing your strategic plan and other apects of Simplified Strategic Planning.

M. Dana Baldwin is a Senior Consultant with Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached by email at:

© Copyright 2018 by Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI — Reprint permission granted with full attribution

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