strategic eXecution

Strategic Execution by Dr. Robert Gerwig

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Can QUIET be deafeningly loud? … If so, Alegre Beach Resort was SCREAMING in my ears. Algere is a quaint little resort on the island of Cebu a couple hours north of the bustling city of Cebu City. This getaway features an attentive staff, good food, crystal clear pool, beachfront, bungalows & villas, and quiet. Lots of quiet. Time to think. Strategically.

Our team had a gotten away for a couple days to do some strategic planning for the upcoming year. We even had the requisite “outside” consultant to help us “get out of the box” and provide “objective” feedback. If you’ve been in strategic planning sessions, you know the drill. With slight variations, it is the same process used in organizations around the world.

Important? Yes. … Necessary? Yes. … Value-added? Yes. … Sufficient? No.

Not sufficient? Why not? The output of a strategic planning session (or “retreat”) is to develop a plan, priorities, objective, etc. This is important, value-added work, but it is not sufficient. At some point, you have to “do” the plan. Take action. Sweat. Bleed. Cry. … You know, “blood, sweat and tears.” … You have to work hard. Plan the work and work the plan. The best plan is the one you implement … you probably know all the clichés as well as I do.

At Alegre, I reflected on all the strategic plans I’d seen, been part of, developed, and argued over. I also reflected on what brings great, world-class results. Is it the plan? No. Is it partly the plan? Yes. … You see world-class results come from good planning AND good execution. The “gooder” the plan AND the “gooder” the execution, the “gooder” the results.

Ever hear of PDCA? Plan-Do-Check-Act? Simple. Effective. Timeless. … Plan the work, do the work, check/verify the work, and make adjustments. This is the formula for personal and organizational excellence.

In the QUIET of Alegre, our team went through a formal planning process to develop priorities for 2012. We ended our session with a few objectives that are critical for our success – IF we execute. In a sense, the plan and objectives are critical whether or not we execute (they are critical to our performance – good or bad). But what I mean is that we cannot, in fact will not, be successful unless we execute our plan and achieve our targets. So, is the strategic plan necessary? Yes (so we work on the “right” things). Is the plan sufficient? No. We must follow the entire PDCA cycle and execute – delivering results (the so-called “bottom-line”) to our organizational stakeholders.

How ‘bout you? Are you developing strategic plans for next year? Personal? Organizational? If so, what is your strategic eXecution plan? Your plan to “do it?”

As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

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