Execution of the Plan

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On December 26, 2011

Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at the importance of having a long-term, big-picture view of your company. And we’ve examined the need for a mid-range strategy to move your company forward. We’ve also talked about how critical it is to have an annual plan for achieving your goals. Plans and strategies are beautiful things, but you still have to make them happen. What’s the key to executing your plans?

It’s not practical to continually reconvene your planning group to check on the progress of every aspect of your annual plan. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t revisit important items. One way to tackle that is to schedule regular “touch point” meetings to help keep you and your team on track.

  • Quarterly Planning/SMART Goals: Meeting quarterly with key team members provides a great way to make sure your plans move from paper to reality. In these meetings, you’ll want to make sure you set SMART goals—goals that are Specific/Measureable/Attainable/Realistic/Timely. Some of the plans and goals require time to complete. Usually, a quarterly meeting allows enough time between meetings to evaluate whether adequate progress is being made.
  • Monthly Meetings: Some goals and objectives need a bit of time to reach fruition. Monthly meetings allow a slightly longer-range view of conditions (such as sales or costs). At monthly meetings, you can start to see emerging trends. Think of your monthly meetings as kind of an “early warning system” that your plans may be slipping. You may not need to take immediate action, but your antennae should go up!
  • Weekly Meetings: Meetings that take place weekly are generally more tactical than strategic. This is a good time to check up on activities that need to happen. As a leader, you can watch to make sure that certain critical activities aren’t being overlooked or pushed off on a regular basis. That’s an indication of a larger problem that should be addressed at the monthly or quarterly meetings.
  • Daily Huddles: These meetings need to be short and sweet. Think of them as running a “no-huddle offense” in football. You’re looking to make sure there are no surprises awaiting you. You’re making sure you have all your players in the right position. If you see a problem, you can call a “time out.” Otherwise, you call the play for the day and snap the ball.
  • Key Performances Indicators (KPIs): Your key performance indicators are things you can review at any meeting. They act like a barometer. If they aren’t where they are supposed to be, you know you have to take corrective measures. You may not take steps to correct them in every meeting—but if they are off in any meeting, they are great warning signs. (Shoot me a note if you’d like more information about KPIs!)