Execution:The Forgotten part of Strategy
You have spent large sums of time, money, and resources developing your strategic plan. More than likely, you included a bright and shiny new mission statement, some sort of value promise, and an a la carte of however many other vogue frameworks available to business owners. Unfortunately, all the effort you just devoted to your new strategy will add little to no value if you neglect to monitor its execution.
But how can you, the business owner, possibly expect to monitor the implementation of your new strategy while caught in the whirlwind of every day operations? Doing so is no easy task. There will most certainly be aches, pains, late nights, and early mornings (correlated to your current level of discipline, of course). But at the end of the day, you are a leader. When you decided to be one, you decided to serve those around you. You put yourself in a position others look to for guidance. If I just made you feel overwhelmed, I apologize, but I do have three actions you can take to help maintain focus on executing your strategy: Accountability, Example, and Consistency.
Disclaimer: These actions are not something you do once. Rather, they must become a part of you if they are to provide any significant value. Moreover, this line of thinking presupposes you entered this article already understanding the absolute need to mentor those you lead and delegate workload to them. Watch for coming articles discussing mentorship and delegation, but I digress.
You are the one who developed the strategy and, as a result, know it better than anyone else. Therefore, it is up to you to hold others accountable for how they manage their portion of the plan. However, let me be clear, accountability is not synonymous with punishment or micromanaging. Instead, accountability begins at the top, with you. It is your job to ensure you and your team maintain focus on the execution of your strategy in spite of the wave of incoming daily tasks.
A dangerous potential side effect of maintaining accountability is an increase in workplace stress. The best way to remove feelings of ill will in those you serve, is to lead by example. Be the perfect representation of what you preach. Let your team see the strategy was not designed for making more money at their expense, but for making a better company. A company they are a part of. Leading by example is a sure way to inspire others to perform at their highest level.
Lastly, we have the most important action. It is also the most difficult because it requires you to ignore how you feel, forget about your bad day, and bring the same level of performance day, after day, after day, and oh yeah, the next day too. Once you allow flexibility in your expectations, the more flexible they will become and the importance of the strategy will grow increasingly less clear. What you demand today is what you must demand tomorrow, and so on.
There is much that goes into the development of your strategy, do not allow all those efforts to be for nothing. Your plan is sound and your team is strong, monitor execution and enjoy the change that is important to you.