If you need tips for executing your strategic plan, let's first look at the wrong way to do it. Imagine you’re playing chess. Like any good chess player, you’re thinking three steps ahead. But, you never move a single piece. You developed a strategy but didn’t execute it.
Well, you don’t have to imagine it - it’s happening. Credit unions and community banks aren’t implementing their strategic plans.
So, what’s gone wrong? Leaders can’t execute these plans. They’re stuck in the day-to-day weeds, doing multiple jobs at once or don’t have the time. They’ve thought out the moves but can’t move the pieces.
If that’s your situation, here are some tips for executing a strategic plan.
Step Away from Day-to-Day Tasks
Credit union and community bank leaders wear many hats, and recent staffing issues haven’t helped the situation. As a C-suite executive, you find yourself handling frontline jobs as well as your own duties. That makes it easy to become part of the 49% of organizations where leaders spend only one day a month reviewing their plan execution.
But if you want long-term growth, you must set aside strategic time. You must figure out how to achieve your goals. Otherwise, your goals will disappear as you toil the day away.
Our advice: start small. Try 15 minutes a day devoted to implementing your strategic plan. Slowly increase your daily execution time from there. As the saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Align Your Staff
You can’t expect a boat to reach land when everyone’s rowing a different direction. Strategic goals are similar. Successfully achieving your goals requires an aligned staff.
Harvard Business Review recommends creating subgoals from your main goal and assigning those tasks to suitable people. Then, facilitate communication between them.
For example, your goal is to revamp your mobile app. Assign the IT people to fix bugs, and the marketing people to sell the app. Make sure these two groups communicate so marketing isn’t promoting features incompatible with the app.
Most importantly, don’t just assign tasks and forget about it! Alignment needs continuous direction.
Train, Train and Train Some More
Executing a strategic plan doesn’t always come naturally. That’s because it involves a lot of management – redirecting people, clarifying messages and attending to moving parts. And sadly, 58% of managers have no management training. Are you in that boat?
If you are, fear not! There’s some great summer reading to beef up your managerial execution skills, such as “Traction” by Gino Wickman. Recruiting an outside facilitator to conduct leadership training is also a great way to develop management muscles.
Achieving strategic goals involves change, and you must embrace it. If you don’t, your plan’s going nowhere.
Shift your mindset. Fall in love with the plan you’re implementing. You won’t execute a loveless plan well, and even if you try, your staff is going to see right through you.
Of course, you need a strategic plan before you can implement one. Don’t have one yet? Don’t worry! Our On The Mark Strategies strategic planning facilitators are industry experts who help financial institutions develop plans year after year.
Sign up for a strategic planning session today and get customized tips for executing a strategic plan!