Strategic Follow Through: The Unseen Power of Implementing, Not Just Planning

In leadership, the ability to envision a strategic plan is undoubtedly crucial, but the true mark of greatness lies in the execution. This Harvard Business Review-style article, brought to you by the Institute for Executive Development (IED), explores the often-overlooked aspect of strategic leadership—implementing the plan. Discover why actively completing a strategic plan is the key to leadership excellence and business growth, and how professional leadership consultants can guide you through this transformative journey.

The Pitfall of Inaction: Strategic Plans Gathering Dust

In boardrooms across corporations, strategic plans are crafted with precision, outlining visions, missions, and goals. However, a significant number of these plans meet an unfortunate fate—they gather dust on the shelves of optimism. Great leaders understand that the real power lies not just in devising strategic plans but in the disciplined pursuit of implementing them.

The IED Approach: Turning Vision into Action

The Institute for Executive Development (IED) recognizes that strategic planning is a living, breathing process that demands continual attention and action. IED’s Strategic Planning programs, rooted in a proprietary 100-day approach, redefine the traditional notion of creating a plan that merely sits on the shelf. The IED philosophy, “you have to give people a chance to weigh-in if you want them to buy-in,” underscores the importance of inclusive, employee-driven processes that ensure the plan is not just conceived but actively embraced and executed.

The Three-Phased Approach: From Vision to Actionable Reality

  • Formation/Plan Development: Engage your organization in the process of developing a Strategic Plan. Establish a Task Force with key employees, conduct a comprehensive internal and external environmental assessment, and formulate a Vision, Values, Mission, and Goals.
  • Implementation/Rolling out the Plan: IED’s unique “chewable bite” strategy ensures that your Strategic Plan is developed inclusively, communicated effectively, and evaluated systematically. Executives learn to lead the organization through the practicalities of implementation, making the plan a dynamic part of day-to-day operations.
  • Evaluation-Monitoring/Measuring Progress: Develop processes for evaluating, monitoring, and measuring progress. IED provides facilitation, coaching, guidance, and expertise to senior leaders and the Task Force, ensuring that the plan’s success is an ongoing journey, not a fleeting accomplishment.

The IED Advantage: Guiding Leaders Through Implementation Challenges

Implementing a strategic plan is not without its challenges. IED’s Executive Coaching programs, including the renowned Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered model, offer a focused approach to guide leaders through the intricacies of implementation. This client-centered coaching process guarantees positive, measurable leadership growth, emphasizing real-world application of strategic visions.

Why Implementing Matters: The Impact on Business Growth

Great leaders understand that a plan is only as good as its execution. Actively completing a strategic plan ensures:

  • Organizational Alignment: Every member understands their role in executing the plan, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose.
  • Adaptability: Leaders learn to pivot and adjust strategies as needed, staying agile in the face of the dynamic business world.
  • Measurable Success: Implementing a plan allows for ongoing evaluation and adaptation, ensuring that success is not a distant goal but a continuous journey.

The Journey to Strategic Excellence: A Roadmap for Leaders

For leaders seeking to transition from planning to implementation, the journey involves:

  • Commitment to Action: Pledge to actively implement the strategic plan, recognizing that this commitment is the cornerstone of leadership excellence.
  • Inclusive Leadership: Engage employees in the implementation process, fostering a sense of ownership and commitment.
  • Continuous Evaluation: Regularly assess progress, celebrate successes, and identify areas for improvement. Strategic excellence is an ongoing pursuit.

Conclusion: Elevate Your Leadership Through Actionable Plans

In the world of leadership, greatness is achieved not by what’s planned but by what’s executed. The Institute for Executive Development stands as a beacon, offering top leadership coaching and training programs to guide CEOs and executives through the transformative journey of turning strategic visions into actionable realities.

Ready to elevate your leadership? Embrace the power of implementation with IED. Contact us today to explore our programs and take the first step towards making your strategic plans a driving force for business growth.