Implementation… one of the most challenging parts of running a business. It doesn’t matter if you have a business plan, goals and targets, a strategy, great ideas, and wild ambitions. Without implementation, you are going nowhere.
How many times do you attend a workshop or seminar, a brainstorm session or strategic planning meeting, and when you return to the office, the day to day operations take over and nothing that you discussed gets implemented?
Are you paying lip service to your strategy? Are you talking about doing things but never finding the time to actually implement them? You might be battling with the same question that so many business owners struggle with… How do we get stuff done?
Prior to implementation, the first step is to ensure that the strategy, project or task is aligned to the goals of the business. The task has to be meaningful. It has to add value. Everyone needs to understand WHY the task or project needs to be implemented. Therefore, it is useful to identify what it is about the project that will make a difference going forward.
Apart from understanding the business imperatives, everyone involved in the project needs to emotionally connect with it on a personal level. A goal needs to match your personal value system to make it important to you. So making a target in business means your child’s private school fees are sorted for next year. That’s a great incentive to ensure implementation of a plan.
Consequences and incentives
It is often useful to talk about the consequences of NOT implementing the plan or project. What is the impact on your business and personal life if the implementation of the plan doesn’t happen? The consequences of not completing a task have to outweigh the pain of delivering it. On the flip side, what incentives and rewards can you put in place for achieving the goal and implementing what you talk about?
Then let’s talk about the plan. When I critique plans I often see airy-fairy, mumbo-jumbo words that look impressive on paper, but don’t give a clear direction of the actions required for implementation. Never mind the high level documents… make sure your plan is a series of steps to follow, in bite size chunks, to reach your destination. By chunking the plan into smaller milestones, components and tasks, you are also able to measure your progress more effectively. It is really useful to have a visual representation of what you are trying to achieve, and your progress towards the goal. A barometer of sales, a list of completed jobs, etc.
Resources and time
The number one reason that the implementation of plans fail is due to a lack of resources. By this I mean time and manpower. If possible, outsource the implementation of the plan to ensure it is done by someone who is not distracted by the everyday operational tasks. If it needs to be implemented in-house, allocate time in the diary to get to these tasks. It is a conscious, forced process to implement something new over and above the daily grind and if you wait until you have some free time, it will never happen.
And finally, make sure someone OWNS the project or task. Who is going to hold everyone accountable, manage the project and ensure that you are moving one step closer to the goal every day? The CEO, MD or business unit head needs to drive the process. In my profession, I regularly play the role of accountability coach, because the implementation of a plan often requires the CEO or MD to action certain items. And who is holding the boss accountable?
At the end of the day, if it is important to you, you will find the time, energy, resources and will to implement a task. What is holding you back from “getting stuff done”? And how can you change course? Contact us and let me help you make it happen.