A plan of any type – strategic, tactical, operational – regardless of amount of effort and contributions, can live vibrantly or idle sluggishly. There are many things that can be done to ensure effective implementation and steady progress. One of those – and what I consider extremely important – is to enlist all those who will have a role in achieving the goals, whether for a committee, a division, or an entire organization. This requires sharing of information to connect the dots between executive leadership’s vision/strategic goals and the hearts and hands of those that will carry out the day-to day tasks to put the plan in motion and keep it moving.
There are many industries and professions that create huge gaps between the “whys” of the strategic plan and the “hows” of implementation. Staff and volunteers that show up and do what’s asked of them but haven’t been presented with the larger picture of how what they do fits into the master plan, may do good work, but may trip and fall when it comes to motivation, sense of ownership, and enthusiasm. If those at the ground-level are included either in part of the planning process, or at least part of the action planning/implementation component, they will have a greater understanding of the goals and the how and why of what they do is important. Even better, they have the knowledge and experience that may shed light on any challenges with individual goals or objectives. Understanding why what they are doing supports the attainment of the organization’s goals and vision can make their work output even more meaningful and effective.
Sharing information and components of the plan with staff and volunteers that have a role in achieving it will more likely result in them embracing the plan, especially if they can make suggestions and contributions to the individual tasks that help achieve each objective. With this participation comes a sense of ownership. Accountability sets in. They are more invested because of it and show up to work or to an event ready to go – to play out their part in the production.
Incremental achievements – and acknowledging and celebrating them – will keep the momentum going through the plan’s timeline. Be intentional with support, addressing needs, overcoming challenges, and giving praise. This will perpetuate the cycle of embracing, owning, and going!