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How to Implement a Strategic Plan | Key Steps + Free Handbook

Are you finding it difficult to determine the direction your organisation is heading in? Or do your employees feel uncertain about their roles in achieving the organisation's goals?

Sounds like a strategic plan is needed.

A strategic plan doesn't just help visualise where your organisation is going, it also helps everyone else stay informed. 

In this post, we'll cover the key components of a strategic plan, the five stages of implementing a strategic plan and common pitfalls that occur and how to overcome them. 

Let's get started.

Strategic implementation plan development process

What is a Strategic Plan?

A strategic plan is developed to provide organisations with a roadmap for achieving their long-term goals and objectives. It serves as a blueprint that outlines the steps and actions required to reach desired outcomes. 

By implementing a strategic plan, organisations can ensure they stay on track and achieve their goals effectively. This is especially important for government agencies and organisations, as having a clear plan can help them make a tangible difference in their communities.

Learn more about why strategic planning is important.

The Key Components of Implementing a Strategic Plan:

  1. Clear and measurable objectives: The steps to achieve the goals need to be well defined and clear so everyone is on the same path. Ensure each department and individual knows their responsibilities and what role they play in achieving the end goal.
  2. Effective communication: Communication needs to be clear from top to bottom. This means from legislative bodies to department heads and civil servants.
  3. Leadership buy-in: “51% say one of the main reasons strategic initiatives succeed is leadership buy-in and support.” Economist. Without the support of senior leaders or key stakeholders, the plan may lack the necessary resources, funding, or commitment to be executed effectively. Buy-in from leadership also demonstrates a shared vision and commitment to the plan’s objectives, which can motivate employees and stakeholders to work towards achieving them.
  4. A plan for monitoring and evaluating: Allows the organisation to adapt the plan if circumstances occur. It’s important to schedule a specific time to review the plan and consider any changes that occur due to changing industry, regulation or service user needs.

Top Tips for Implementing a Successful Strategic Plan: Five Key Steps

The implementation stage of a strategic plan is often the most neglected. Without effective implementation, the strategic plan you’ve developed is only going to be partially successful with failures impacting the whole organisation.

To avoid this, here are top tips for implementing your strategic plan effectively in five key steps:

1 Assign roles and responsibilities

To implement the plan effectively, it is important to clearly define and communicate the roles and responsibilities of all individuals and teams involved. This helps to ensure that everyone is aware of what is expected of them and can work together towards the common goal.

2 Develop an implementation plan

Once the roles and responsibilities have been established, it is important to develop a detailed implementation plan that outlines the specific tasks, timelines, and resources required to achieve the objectives outlined in the strategic plan. This helps to ensure that everyone is clear on what needs to be done and when.

3. Communicate the plan

It is essential to communicate the implementation plan to all stakeholders, including employees, service users and suppliers. This helps to build buy-in and support for the plan and ensures that everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities in its implementation.

4. Implement the plan

This involves putting the implementation plan into action and executing the specific tasks and activities outlined in the plan. It is important to monitor progress regularly and adjust the plan as necessary to ensure that it remains on track.

5. Evaluate and review progress

The final stage of effectively implementing a strategic plan involves regularly evaluating and reviewing progress towards the objectives outlined in the plan. This helps to identify areas for improvement and ensure that the plan remains relevant and aligned with the organisation's goals and objectives over time.

Common Pitfalls of Strategic Implementation and How to Overcome Them

In 2016, the top three reasons strategy implementation failed were: 1) Poor communication, 2) Lack of leadership and 3) Using the wrong measures – Economist

To successfully implement a strategic plan, it is important to overcome common pitfalls that can hinder progress. By proactively addressing issues such as unclear roles, inadequate resources, and poor communication, organisations can increase their chances of achieving the desired outcomes of their strategic plan.

1. Misaligning the strategy to the organisational culture

When implementing a strategic plan in the public sector, it's important to ensure that the plan aligns with the organisational culture. Misalignment can lead to resistance, confusion, and ultimately failure to achieve the intended outcomes.

How to overcome this:

Assess the organisational culture: Before developing the strategic plan, it's essential to assess the organisational culture. This can be done through surveys, interviews, or focus groups to understand the values, beliefs, and behaviours of the organisation.

Identify cultural values and priorities: Identify the cultural values and priorities that are most important to the organisation and its stakeholders. These values and priorities should be incorporated into the strategic plan to ensure alignment.

For more common pitfalls and tips to overcome them, download your free copy of our Strategy & Planning Handbook.

What’s Inside:

  • How to develop key skills to think strategically
  • Actionable tips on using strategic planning in the workplace
  • Guidance on successfully implementing a strategic plan
  • Top tips on how to improve your strategic skills for the workplace

Enhance And Develop Your Strategic Mindset with our New Handbook

Whether you are tackling complex policy issues, managing public projects, or seeking to improve service delivery, this handbook will enhance your ability to think strategically, design robust plans and effectively implement them. Click the button below to access your free copy.

download practical handbook on strategic thinking, planning and implementation

Chloe Martin
Content Editor

2+ years in SEO and content marketing. Striving to help public sector professionals develop their skills and learn something new through high-quality content.