Turning Strategy Into Action: Tools and Techniques for Implementing Strategic Plans

APQC - September 1999

Abstract: Examine how and why leading-edge companies are making dramatic changes in their approach to plan implementation and goal attainment in Turning Strategy into Action: Tools and Techniques for Implementing Strategic Plans.

KEY FINDINGS

Design of the Planning Process and Content

  • Ensuring process and content linkages of business and operational plans to strategic plans is critical to the success of Strategic planning implementation initiatives.
  • Creating a balance among the various characteristics of Strategic planning and action planning is difficult, yet essential, to implementation success.
  • Shifting from budget planning to operational planning is a logical outcome of ensuring that strategic initiatives are implemented. Strategic plans are viewed as "living documents" that require periodic review and continuous improvement.
  • Well-defined, well-communicated planning processes are easier to understand and, subsequently, to deploy. Identifying key strategic focus areas increases the ease of planning implementation.
Managing and Motivating Human resources
  • Incentives that support and promote success in implementation must be aligned appropriately with strategic objectives.
  • The development of new skill sets in parallel with the periodic recruitment of new employees with new skill sets is required to implement changed strategies.
Managing Cultural Change
  • Communication is one of the most meaningful and essential variables affecting the success of Strategic planning implementation.
  • Top management leadership and involvement in implementation initiatives are critical success factors of the planning process.
Managing Structural Change
  • Aligning organizational structure with organizational strategy promotes an environment conducive to plan implementation.
  • The use of specially designed task forces for renewal, transformation, and new business ventures aids the speed of implementation.
Role of the Planning Department
  • Planning professionals provide continuous improvement support for the strategic planning implementation process. Working in planning capacities increases development of perspectives and skills that are valuable in subsequent job positions.
  • Planning departments are relied upon for managing the participation of critical stakeholders and decision-makers in strategy meetings. Successful implementation practices include integration of the Strategic planning process with the quality function.
General Management Perspectives and Techniques
  • Best-practice organizations display a wide range of approaches with regard to scenario-planning methodologies. They use an integrated approach to linking plan development and implementation.

Keywords: Human resources - Strategic planning - Competitive intelligence - Operations

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