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Monday, September 21, 2009

Five Key Steps In Strategy Formulation - And Two For Execution

Creating a strong strategy for an organization is not an easy task. It takes several of the organization's leaders to articulate and agree on vision and direction.

Yet, of the two, execution is much harder, as it requires the activity of every person, every day.

Here are five tips for strategy formulation:

  1. Analyze the current situation. Determining where your organization stands is an important first step that some leaders take for granted. Ask yourself, “Where are we now?” At a bare minumum, conduct a SWOT analysis.
  2. Set a clear strategic direction. Use mission and vision statements to articulate goals, then set out an action plan for how to reach them.
  3. Develop a small set of initiatives. Outline 3-5 key initiatives or projects that support the organization's goals and assign them to key employees to execute.
  4. Establish a detailed action plan - for everyone. An individual plan for every employee, one that is reviewed between employee and team leaders weekly, gives everyone status updates and enough time for corrective action in the case that goals are at risk. Include measures for monitoring progress.
  5. Align the organization. Execution of strategy requires every person, every day. Make sure you disseminate the strategy to all employees. How can they execute on it, if they're not continually aware of what's really important?

Now that strategy has been formulated, two key tips for executing the strategy:

  1. Execute relentlessly. The individual plan for each person needs to be reviewed daily, time needs to be spent on activities that support the initiatives, and corrective measures need to take place as early as possible, so you can course-correct quickly.
  2. Monitor, measure and learn. Monitor key measures along the way, find and correct errors early and quickly, and learn from your mistakes.

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