Executing and implementing new strategies (processes, practices, values, etc.) can be a daunting task, even in a rather small company or organization. Like anything we do in business or life, having a plan of actionable attack can mean all the difference between success or failure.
Here’s a fairly simple 10-step approach you and your staff can use to carry out and stick to all the new strategies you come up with.
1. All new strategies must aligned with existing company values, to avoid execution becoming disjointed
If one of your company’s values is 100% commitment to customer service excellence through honesty and compassion for your fellow man, and your newest marketing strategy is to run a campaign exploiting the inner city youth of Chicago, that’s going to be a problem.
Some employees embrace values because they have to, the good ones live for them. A little shift in values is fine if it’s for the better; but not if it compromises everything your company claims to stand for.
2. Limit new strategies to be employed to just a few of the most important
Your employees likely have enough change coursing through their veins at any single time of day. Don’t make change such a constant that they start to feel disconnected from their job description.
Change just a few small things at a time, cycle in new strategies to be deployed as the previous initiatives become the norm.
3. Company leadership must exude confident action and determination that the new strategies are essential to the success of the business
Company leaders need to be a part of the process of change, not just there to be consulted when things aren’t going according to the plan. Leadership can be the biggest hurdle to executing new strategies. And for a couple of different reasons:
One, they may be so vested in the “old ways,” the way things are or were, that they simply don’t want to see the changes made – be they for the betterment of the company or not.
Two, leadership often feels like it’s their duty to sit atop the throne while the underlings implement new strategies. Essentially, they’re there to lead at a distance and swoop in to take credit when everything’s done.
4. Make sure to create and note repeatable systems and processes for future success
This should be obvious. Just because you hop in a car and manage to drive your way to Mexico without a GPS once, doesn’t mean you can do it a second time, from a different starting point!
Always note why successful execution of a strategy is working and create repeatable steps that can be used to achieve it again and again.
5. Constantly remind all involved of the importance of the new strategies
At our core, most human beings hate change and love things staying the same. It’s part of our survival process. If you let your team languish in ineptitude too long, they’ll soon revert and/or not bother to help in executing the plan at all.
6. Training and support are paramount to successful application of the plan
Obviously, employees will need every tool you can give them in order to be successful at implementing the new initiatives you’re employing. Empower them to seek answers for themselves. For example, they can Google for those; or go to Quora and ask away. Thanks to the Internet, resources are limitless.
7. Prepare to pivot wherever necessary to make the plan a reality
You need to have a plan to execute new strategies effectively. However, don’t be so rigid in the implementation of that plan that you fail to see where things are going wrong and adjust according.
Why walk straight through those frightening Everglades when there’s a boat docked nearby you can use to float around them?
8. Don’t let the successes go unrecognized
This is a trick borrowed from Pavlov’s classical conditioning approach. If you teach your employees to expect praise and recognition when they perform a desired behavior successfully, it teaches them to keep doing what’s expected of them. Not just that, others in the company will see them being showered with kudos and will follow suit in a quest to get some of their own.
Eventually everyone will be “salivating” at the mere thought of making the changes successful and you won’t have to “feed” them anymore encouragement to do so.
9. Make sure that your strategies are ‘responsive’
In the uncertain times – such as in pandemic and economic/political turmoils – you need to have business strategies that can easily be adapted to such situations. For instance, when the pandemic forces businesses to close down, including yours, you need to quickly find ways to keep your business going. Remote working, online deliveries, etc. should be adopted in timely manner, so that you don’t lose your momentum.
10. Adopt tech to make strategy implementation more streamlined
Implementing your business strategy requires coordination with all of your team members and decision makers. Things can easily get unnecessarily complicated when not all involved in the strategy execution are on the same page. To facilitate this, you need a system that can give you strategic implementation progress report, implementation chart, and so on.
Successful execution of new strategies in your company or organization can be difficult. There are few who truly embrace change when it matters. However, using the 8-step approach listed above will soon make executing the most important of new strategies in the company easier than you once thought possible.