Goal Execution

It’s early in the year, and many of you are putting the final touches on your 2017 strategic plan. Even though you might have left your planning retreat a bit exhausted, that was the easy part. Executing your plan is what really matters. So let’s talk about goal execution.

Now that you and your colleagues have set the bar higher, identified that business changing idea, or revealed a way to impact your customers’ lives in a way they never expected; you are going to have to find a way to get it done. And, for many of my clients – nonprofit agencies – getting it done, means more performance with the same or fewer resources.

Goal execution has been studied by business experts for years. It is a subject that is rich in advice, tips, and methods. But, don’t look for the perfect recipe for your business, because every agency, business, or association is unique. You need to find the right mix of methods that work for you, your agency, and your business environment.

I offer a few tips to help you develop your arsenal of tools to tackle your strategic goals in 2017 and beyond:

Understand and capitalize on your expertise.

Our recommended strategic planning processes is closely aligned with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which requires a company to understand and assess their Core Competencies; which are your organization’s areas of greatest expertise, and strategically important to fulfilling your mission. You need to look beyond “I’ll volunteer for that role”, and seek the individuals (staff or board) who’s expertise, passion, and resources align with your core competencies and your vision. Putting the right people in the right role is critical to successful goal execution.

Don’t let passion get in your way.

We can easily become myopic if we get too passionate about a certain way of doing things, whether at the strategic or process level. Everyone needs to be able to put on a thick layer of skin to allow the organization to question the validity of everything we do, why we do it, and what value it brings to our customers and the business. This is at the core of Continuous Process Improvement.

Continuous Process Improvement.

Okay, so now I’ve unleashed the dreaded Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) bat from the cave of scary business terms. Fear not, CPI is your friend. Without continuous improvement of your current processes, you will find it extremely difficult to tackle new activities successfully. Every company has a person (regardless of role or position) that has the guts and passion to drive process improvement across departmental lines. Find that person, give them the authority to lead change, and reward everyone who successfully improves their processes.

Your strategic plan is your guide.

Use your strategic plan as your litmus test for all activities and decisions. This allows you to remain focused on your vision and the real tasks at hand. Don’t let the noise distract you from your desired future. Use your staff and board meetings to focus on where you are headed and what is working, and less on the negative. This will will increase motivation, and improve your goal execution across the organization, not just in pockets.

These are just a few tips to help you navigate your plan and have a successful planning year.