The business environment is getting increasingly competitive. Having said that, it is essential for businesses to evolve in a consistent manner to sustain themselves. In simple terms, businesses need to transform their ways and approaches to safeguard their future. However, every transformation needs to be in coherence with effective strategic plans. To continue, formulating strategic plans for long-term viability is one thing and executing them to perfection is different.
As a business leader, you need to work on the efficient implementation of strategic plans to drive the desired outcomes. For businesses to grow and advance, the success of strategic plans is indispensable. This is where you need to excel as a leader and focus on the key prerequisites for making strategic plans successful. So, what are the key determinants of success for a strategic plan linked to key business trends? What makes a strategic plan successful?
Here are the salient dimensions for the successful execution of business plans aimed at long-term benefits.
The first and in fact, the most imperative dimension of any strategic business plan is the vision behind it. When you work on a strategic business plan aimed at driving long-term success, you first need to define the vision behind it. Besides, while defining the vision, you also need to identify the core values linked to the strategic plan. To elucidate, most strategic plans make way for positive transformations within the organization.
Having said that, as a part of effective change management, you need to define the vision, purpose, and values behind the change. Unless you define these parameters, the strategic plan will remain incomplete. Besides, another crucial aspect of executing strategic plans is to have all stakeholders on board.
When you have to persuade the top management and investors, you need to win their confidence. For that, you need to explain to them the vision of the strategic plan and what it aims to achieve. How do you expect to convince them unless you are sure of the vision and values behind it? So, the very first step you need to take is to define the virtues and vision of the plan.
2. Goals and objectives
Going forward, you then need to identify the key goals and objectives that are crucial for your strategic plan. The goals and objectives may be linked to performance management, deployment of technology, or improving efficiency. For instance, let’s say your strategic plan is to build the brand authority for your business in the next three to five years. Now, to succeed in this strategic plan, you need to work on various marketing, public relations, and customer retention goals.
Further, these goals may include objectives like hiring a digital marketing expert, effective market research, or improving CTR rates. Along similar lines, every strategic plan will have its own share of relevant goals and objectives. For the successful execution of strategic plans, you need to recognize the relevant SMART objectives.
When you define the goals and objectives effectively, it offers great clarity. You will exactly know what you need to do and achieve for the success of a specific strategic plan. In fact, it is something indispensable with respect to executing any strategic plan. Without a clear understanding of goals and objectives, the execution will remain ineffective. Makes complete sense, right?
3. Key performance indicators
What next after you have defined the goals and objectives? For sure, you need to track the performance of your strategies using relevant metrics. Without any metrics, how will you determine if you will accomplish your milestones in the set timeframe? This is where key performance indicators come into the picture. Key performance indicators are quantifiable measures that track the progress of business strategies.
For instance, when it comes to digital marketing strategies, the KPIs include bounce rate, conversions, CTR, dwell time, and so on. Similarly, for financial strategies, the key metrics include net profit, COGS, cash flow, etc.Tracking performance with KPI gives a real-time measure of progress and success. Besides, KPIs also offer great scope for gap analysis so that you can refine strategies for better efficiency.
What is essential is that you identify the KPIs that are relevant to your strategic plan and corresponding objectives. In fact, objectives are always better when they are measurable, isn’t it? This explains the relevance of SMART goals and objectives in the corporate world. When your objectives are SMART, you can track them more effectively. However, it ultimately depends on your effectiveness in terms of recognizing the right KPIs.
4. Strategic communication
The next key dimension of executing a strategic business plan is to develop strategic communication strategies. The execution is not limited to defining the vision, goals, objectives, and KPIs. For effective execution, it is essential that you communicate the same to your teams effectively. Plans work better when your team has a clear understanding of what they are working for. Besides, you ought to tell them the KPIs that you will apply to measure their performance.
In fact, in the course of executing a strategic plan, there is a lot you need to communicate to your team. The better they understand the details the more effectively they will align with the strategic plan. Otherwise, in the absence of clear communication, there can be confusion and mistrust. These negative influences can further affect the execution of the prerequisite strategies. You would certainly not want that to happen, right?
Having said that, it is essential for you to develop effective and strategic communication strategies. In case your organization is working remotely, you can depend on effective internal communication tools to keep the flow of information constant. As we often hear, communication is the key and we need to acknowledge the fact that it will always be the case. A lot depends on effective communication when it comes to business success.
5. Suitable technology
We are living in the age of a digital revolution and stellar technologies are at the helm of it. In the contemporary world, it seems unimaginable to think of business operations without technology. Technological advancements are driving unthinkable efficiency in all verticals of business operations. To substantiate, technologies like AI, IoT, social collaboration tools, and so on are changing the face of the corporate world for the better.
Clearly, businesses are increasing their investments in disruptive technologies to boost efficiency. Having said that, businesses see a great scope for meeting their strategic goals with the right technological investments.You need to ascertain the technologies that can help your strategic plans scale. You need to timely integrate the right tools and software that can boost the efficiency of your strategies and objectives.
You need to analyze which technologies matter the most for your strategic goals and offer a high ROI. You do not want to keep investing in technologies on a regular basis. That would surely shoot up the operational expenses of your business. Hence, you need to look at technologies that offer great potential in the present as well as the future. Your investment in technology has to be based on long-term planning and vision.
Furthermore, for the success of any strategic plan, accountability holds immense significance. As a business leader, you need to fix accountability at all levels to ensure that things are streamlined. From the executive level to managerial levels, you need everyone to be accountable for their responsibilities and tasks. When everyone does great justice to their share of responsibilities, things flow in a positive manner.
When it comes to strategic goals, you cannot leave things to chance. As a leader, you need to lead by example in terms of being accountable. As per HBR, more than 80 percent of managers state that they have a high inability to hold employees accountable. You would certainly want to change this scenario in the context of your organization. Your effectiveness in promoting a sense of accountability in your team will be vital.
7. Control measures for continuous improvement
Execution and continuous improvement are complementary to each other. When you implement a strategic plan, there will always be some loose ends. In fact, it is a process that you need to undertake with the idea of making continuous improvements. But the question is, what does it take to drive continuous improvements after you implement strategies? The answer is simple, you need effective control measures for improving the impact of strategies and plans.
These control measures can be in the form of additional tactics, employee training, or feedback sharing. The more effective your control measures are, the greater will be the scope for consistent improvements. With the right control measures, you can optimize your strategies to get the desired outcomes. However, establishing the appropriate control measures is a task in itself. You need to make sure that you excel in this pursuit to produce exceptional results.
To conclude, there is a large difference between developing strategic plans and executing them in a successful manner. The ultimate success of your business depends on the effectiveness in execution. For the execution part, the above parameters or dimensions are paramount. As long as you get these dimensions right, you can excel in all your strategic plans.