Last month, we continued our article series on developing your business strategy through implementation. We explained that the process of implementation turns your strategies into a reality. Simply put, strategy is nothing without executing it.

In the final installment of “Developing Your Strategy,” we will focus on the ideas of monitoring and evaluating your strategic plan. Although we mentioned these concepts, we will discuss them more specifically.

Once tasks and roles are delegated to individual employees, then someone has to be assigned to both watch and assess the progress of the plan. Think of it as a periodic checking to see how things are going. For many businesses, these steps are as vital as completing the initial strategic plan.

Monitoring and Evaluating

When you are writing your strategic plan, you must decide what systems and structures will be used to evaluate your progress. In other words, are you accomplishing what you intended? It works as measurement.

Watching the process closely also allows for corrective action. Therefore, you can make vital adjustments along the way. It’s a means of fine tuning your strategies and goals.

In the end, monitoring is the correlation between your written strategic plan and the day-to-day operation of your company or organization. This will prevent employees from neglecting your goals and getting caught up in daily tasks. Your employees’ performance will be stimulated and improved as well.

What’s more is that evaluating your efforts will serve as an early warning mechanism. If something is not working, you have the opportunity to make changes as needed.

Truthfully, the frequency of monitoring and evaluating depends on the type of organization and its environment. Whether it is meeting on a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly basis, you have to find the regularity that is right for your company.

There are tools available to track strategic priorities, like Bridgespan, for example. These types of dashboards show timelines and results, reinforce strategies and highlight progress.

Here’s a checklist:

  • Ensure that activities are kept within the parameters of strategic goals and objectives.
  • Guarantee that activities correlate with the company’s mission, values and overall vision.
  • Keep note of any external and internal adjustments that may need to be made the match organization’s strategy.
  • If you get off track, determine why as soon as possible and make changes.

Deviating

Now, you’re probably wondering if deviating from your plan is alright. Honestly, it is perfectly fine and your strategic plan is a guideline and not written in stone.

As the years pass by, your company will probably change directions several times as business changes and grows. These often result from external needs and wants of clients. In this case, you have a complete understanding of why you are changing from the original plan and what needs to be done. Continually revising your plan is one of the best things you can do.

Celebrating

Oftentimes, businesses do not recognize the accomplishments they have achieved. Strategic organizers are too focused on more and more progress.

Remember to celebrate your small successes. This will only motivate you and your team to continue with the plan and achieve more triumphs.

Ultimately, we hope these ideas will help you not only monitor the implementation of your strategic plan, but also evaluate its successes and failures.