Get This Right or Compromise Your Strategic Plan - Modern Distribution Management

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Get This Right or Compromise Your Strategic Plan

One of the most important elements of executing a strategic plan is something most executives get wrong.

It’s hard to be inspired by a goal if you don’t understand the potential reward, and it’s impossible to work toward it if you don’t understand how to get there. Communicating company goals to employees may seem obvious, but many leaders fail to recognize just how important it is.

Brent Grover says in The Little Black Book of Strategic Planning for Distributors that a good communications plan makes the execution of a strategic plan much more likely, listing strong communication as one of three essential ingredients for execution. “A distributor’s commitment to strong, two-way communications ensures everyone understands the company’s compelling goal, that each individual understands his role in achieving the goal, and that trust will be built and maintained through ongoing effective conversation.”

A 2013 survey conducted for Ventana’s “Long Range Planning – Steps to Achieve a More Effective Process” suggests that clear and consistent communication of the organizational strategy correlates strongly with successful execution.

The study also indicates that executives rarely follow planning with strong top-down communication to subordinates, those whose buy-in can make or break the plan. Only one-fourth of executives surveyed said they communicate their goals clearly and consistently, and only half said they at least communicate the general idea.

Grover says good communication starts with a one-page strategic plan, which helps get employees  excited about where the business is going and clarifies their roles in getting there.

Consistent follow-up is also key, something managers can accomplish through monthly or biweekly staff meetings. “Plan monitoring and analysis must be on the staff meeting agenda using a Key Performance Indicators report. The meeting chair must direct the group to drill down into each KPI that is lagging for root causes and corrective action,” Grover says.

For more on using key performance indicators to keep strategic goals on track, see Chapter 7 in The Little Black Book of Strategic Planning.

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