I bet most of us have experienced that little tingling of guilt around putting a plan into action. You may have a plan hidden in the files somewhere now, just waiting to be executed. It could be the strategic plan, the budget plan, the operation plan, the marketing plan, the staff development plan, etc. It’s seems the word plan is synonymous with “black hole”. But, as it turns out, it’s doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming.
We know you want to see the plan comes to fruition, so the community can benefit from your work. It’s time to re-focus and ensure forward progress.
Here are three implementation strategies to consider:
- What gets measured gets done. Ideally, you would determine how the plan will be executed during the planning process. But even if this isn’t the case, try creating a dashboard. It is typically a one page summary of key success indicators with timing and accountability functions. The goal is to achieve focused simplicity, so volunteers and staff can be inspired by seeing key metrics at a glance, and progress to date. A dashboard is much less intimidating than a multi-page, comprehensive plan.
- Communicate like crazy so the plan and progress to goals aren’t kept a secret. Think about who needs to be kept in the loop and when. Depending on the type of plan, this will vary. For instance, you want to keep your participants and donors informed on any key points which could affect their experience with the organization. Utilize systems which are already in place as much as you can – newsletters, meetings, website, annual report, etc. This will inherently increase accountability toward execution, and also engage more people in the process.
- Things will not go exactly according to plan. The timing may be a bit off track. There could be outside factors, out of your control, which significantly impact the plan. Your ability to adapt is critical. Some things may not be negotiable, such as a key financial metric, but maybe the timing could be flexed. Sometimes additional assessment is needed, or priorities change. Understanding that it’s acceptable to revisit and adjust along the way can be very reassuring. And remember to discuss proposed changes with key players and reach consensus. You are a member of a team, and they should be involved in these decisions.
A word about resources. Sometimes a plan never gets executed because the necessary resources aren’t lined up. During the planning, you might not have all the answers about how you will secure the necessary resources, but an important step is identifying what you think will be needed, and commit to providing them. Then it may take the collective wisdom of your team to remove any obstacles. After all, if the goals in your plan are important, then doing all you can to achieve them is important, too.
So I ask you to stop for a moment , and think about one thing you had planned to implement by now, which isn’t done. What are you willing to do in the next three days to move that item forward?
You can do one thing. You can change the outcome. Congratulations in advance!