A key reason for even the best strategic plans gathering dust is a lack of accountability to go with the plan. Couple that with day to day distractions that quickly divert attention onto short term wins and it's easy to see why execution is the hard part. We need to remember, most people walk out of a strategy session with the best intention of doing what was agreed. So how do we stop it going pear shaped?
I recently attended a workshop for strategic planning and execution and I learnt that a majority of businesses don't implement their plans. With a quick search there seems to be plenty of people sharing this challenge.
In the workshop, the suggested approach to accountability revolved around each person making a commitment to the team that they would carry out each of the tasks or responsibilities assigned to, and accepted by them. Further, each task is tagged with:
- An owner
- A due date
- A minder
- A pre-agreed consequence
The Owner is the person doing the work and the Minder is someone assigned to check in on progress. The idea of a consequence created some contentious discussion amongst our group and we were reminded of a subtle but critical notion. The consequence is invented and accepted by the team, prior to starting the task, and could be anything from a team apology through to removal from the team.
Crewmojo is a software version of this process, where:
- The person sending the task (Mission) is the minder (Launch Director)
- The person accepting the task (Mission) is the owner (Astronaut)
- The agreed date between team members is the due date
- The accepted mission is posted to the team activity feed as a commitment
- Our two-way feedback process is more a motivator than a consequence
At Crewmojo we're now leveraging the peer motivation generated by the team activity feed showing our commitments. This is demonstrating a commitment to the team that we'll complete our pieces of the plan.
To help keep us focused and on track we get a gentle nudge from the software each week that checks-in to see how confident we are in achieving our tasks. The updated completion feeling is automatically passed through to the Launch Director to keep them informed of confidence levels.
At the end of the task, both the Launch Director and Astronaut are asked to provide a Net Promoter Score rating and a single piece of feedback to each other for improvement. Knowing upfront there will be two-way feedback at the end fosters a considerate relationship throughout - just like an Uber ride!
If you've invested the resources to create a strategic plan for your business, give it the best chance of a successful execution by injecting some feedback loops and accountability into the operational process. Whether you do this using software or paper forms you'll be in a better position than letting the plan sit in your bottom drawer.