Secrets of Success

Secrets of Success

A business blog by Robin Martin

The Mice Ate It

Last week we talked about developing a strategic plan which is a major step towards building a sustainable business. This week we’re looking at ways to put that strategy to work and make sure it doesn’t end up gathering dust on your bookshelf or getting chewed by rodents.

Did you know:

  • 95% of employees don’t understand their company’s strategy
  • 90% of businesses fail to implement their strategic plan
  • 85% of managers spend < 1 hour/month talking strategy with staff
  • 75% of businesses don’t link employee incentives to strategy
  • 60% of businesses build a strategy that does not fit their budget.

These are staggering numbers – but they also demonstrate how easy it can be to get ahead of your competitors just by having a solid plan and implementing it effectively.

There are some fundamental ways to ensure your plan is alive and well and forming the foundation for a successful business.

Here goes…

Lead by example
As the leader you’re in charge, so your commitment is crucial. You need to lead the charge – talk about it, include it in all your presentations, make it an agenda item in meetings and become an evangelist for the future of your company.

Encourage Ownership
Get all the staff engaged – everyone should feel part of the plan. Assign certain parts of the plan for individuals to draft so that they can all point to some part of the plan and be able to say ‘I thought of that’.

Appoint a strategy manager
This person will keep the plan up to date, track progress through the iterations, will communicate the plan to all staff and chair the strategy meetings held to develop it and ensure, as time goes on, that it remains relevant. This is not always possible as you may only have a few staff, in which case you’ll probably need to take on that role.

Keep It Simple
With a mission, vision, values, objectives and goals, everyone can see the direction of the organisation. It tells everyone what is in and what is out. Don’t over-complicate it.

Keep it Understandable
This is no place for jargon – keep the language simple and easy to follow. If you want it to be shared it has to be easy to grasp.

Create a one page plan
People can see it, people can quickly relate to it, blow it up and pin it to the wall.

Use a score card
List the goals, add the targets, every month check off the status of the target. Make sure everyone is in the loop.

Hold monthly strategy meetings
Times change, circumstances change, the market place changes. Hold monthly meetings to keep up with the changes. Make changes regularly. Get everyone involved but don’t drag it out – time is money.

Have Incentives
These can take many forms, it could be money, or time, or even a gift. It helps to keep everyone engaged.

Celebrate Success
Big and small successes. Keep all staff excited engaged motivated.

Build a Living Document
The strategy is never finished, it should be evolving as the situation changes.

So. As you can see, there are many ways to bring your plan to life and they are all much better than filing it in a drawer and waiting for the ‘right time’ to get started. Chances are the mice will have got to it before you…

If you want a hand just contact me for some suggestions.


Robin Martin

P.S. This article is part of my Secrets of Success series, aimed at helping business owners and entrepreneurs with some of the key components of business success. The insights I wish I’d had at the start of my business career. I hope that by passing on these little gems of knowledge I can give you some support and help you along the pathway to growth and prosperity.

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