Though often used interchangeably, plan and strategy actually have different definitions. Both however do have one thing in common, and that is a goal. We strategize and plan to achieve a certain goal.
Strategy vs Plan
What is strategy?
Strategy is the general direction set for an organization for it to achieve a desired state in the future. Essentially, giving a firm a means to achieve its vision. It arises from the strategic planning process that is used to formulate the path the organization should follow to achieve desired goals.
Strategy clarifies the purpose of the organization, including its mission, vision, and objectives. It capitalizes on the firm’s strengths and competitive edge to drive long-term development rather than just focusing on routine operations. Strategy is developed by the leadership to help guide the organization from its current position to where it wants to be.
What is a plan?
A plan is devised as a means to achieving goals and objectives set by an organization in its strategic plan. When you consider strategy vs approach, you find plans are narrower in scope than strategy, getting down to the specifics needed for execution. It defines the activities and tasks that need to be executed, and who is responsible for what.
The organization of schedules and timelines is a vital difference between strategy and plan. Plans also outline the budget, ensuring that there is sufficient resource allocation. Another key difference between plan and strategy is that plans are carried out at operational levels.
Why strategy implementation plan is required?
Effective execution is required for a strategy to be successful. Strategy implementation is however a broad field with numerous implementation plans required to ensure all tasks needed for successful execution are carried out effectively. Let’s look at the plans that should be prepared before the execution of a project to better ensure successful strategy execution.
1. Communication Plan
Communication from the top-down, down-top, and across the organization is important in strategy execution. There needs to be an effective plan on how to sustain this communication and links so that all employees remain well-advised. Lack of proper communication on the changes that strategy will bring and the responsibilities of every stakeholder can lead to problems.
A communication plan document should comprehensively outline objectives, strategies on how to better engage and stir commitment from employees and boost their performance. It is an example of strategy implementation plan that should be regularly applied to keep employees in touch with the company’s goals and vision. It should aim to:
- Ensure awareness of the strategic plan at all levels
- Provide education and promote participation in the process
- Build enthusiasm and engagement for strategy amongst all key stakeholders
- Share achievements by teams across the organization in effecting change.
2. Resource Planning
Successful implementation requires that the required resources are organized and allocated. This should include funding, human resources, and time allocation. Since most SMEs lack the expertise for strategic execution, outsourcing to consulting firms like MicroAgility allows them to tap into the needed competencies and skills more affordably. This ensures the needed support is sourced to attend to strategy, allowing you to remain focused on your core business objectives.
3. Project Management Plan
Implementing a project requires a skilled project manager to oversee and take responsibility for outcomes. Through the online consulting platform iAgility, businesses can access project management expertise that can take ownership of projects from start to finish. The consultants found here have been vetted, possess a proven track record of results, and are well qualified. The platform provides further support to ensure the relationship between the leadership and the project manager works well and may lead to further future collaborations.
4. Cultural Alignment Plan
Creating an environment that better connects employees to the organization’s goals enhances the likelihood of strategy success. Communication is an important part of this plan as it ensures that employees are well-informed of what the organization’s objectives are and what role they play in achieving them. Consider developing a reward system for achieving these goals. This can help make employees more committed.
When organizations are more aware of how strategy, planning, and execution can be challenging, it makes them more willing to find viable solutions and preserve whatever competitive advantage they have over competitors. Having this foresight makes it easier to ensure successful business plan strategy and implementation in the short to long term. This will make the business better capable of remaining on track to achieving strategic goals.
Having the right team on hand will also impact the chances of success. Use available resources to find the right talent that will guide your organization to success. Unfortunately, trying to recruit such talent can be prohibitively expensive, even on a part-time basis. Working with a consultant is however more favorable. You gain access to a professional that will work for a designated period and will train your staff. Consulting firms like MicroAgility provide experts with whatever skills and talents you need for successful strategy execution. Another option is to explore an online consulting platform like iAgility, where you can work through an online platform to find consultants. Feel free to explore your options to identify which is the best route for you.
If you want to learn more about strategy execution, explore our other blog articles here…
Good Luck with the execution of your strategies!