A strategic plan should be a cross-functional exercise, but often operational silos make this collaboration difficult due to unclear goals and objectives. Without inter-department communications, each function takes their part of the strategic plan, executes based upon their norms, then reports back with a sense of accomplishment. However, like individual band members practicing in private, the final results lack harmony and a sense of purpose.
This post lays out the role each department plays in supporting the strategic plan and how they can collaborate across departments.
The C-suite: Each CXO is responsible for their department’s execution of the plan; however, this group’s efforts must be in service to the overall organization. Leadership, guidance, and direction in implementation are their key activities.
Operations: Monitoring the data reflecting day-to-day operations and managing team members back to key performance indicators (KPIs). Gathering the data and analyzing these metrics requires coordination of human resources, finance, and IT.
Human Resources: Ensuring that the right people are in the right roles, with the necessary skills and competencies, to achieve the goals outlined in the strategic plan. Also, HR must facilitate and monitor open communications across formerly siloed divisions.
Sales and Marketing: Promoting the company's products or services in line with the strategic plan’s stated vision and mission. The stereotype is salespeople will dilute a value proposition to close the deal. Strong messaging from marketing is a good balance.
Finance: This team’s role is critical to a strategic plan. They must install the systems to monitor the profitability of a new strategy and mine historical records to develop revised KPIs. Also, they are often tasked with raising new money to finance these initiatives.
Information Technology: Technology is the backbone of any strategic plan. Often, strategic plans involve updating legacy systems while simultaneously searching out new technologies. This often involves realigning the division to meet these separate goals.
Successful strategic plan implementation requires close collaboration and communication between all company departments. So what are teams to do?
When implementing a strategic plan, it's essential to schedule cross-functional progress meetings. Not only should progress towards the established goals be celebrated but to also combine resources when challenges arise. The frequency of these check-ins will depend on the specific goals and objectives and the timeline and resources allocated to achieve them; however, twice-monthly meetings are the minimum.
During these check-ins, the organization should pay attention to several key factors, including:
Start with a status on action items from the last meeting. What progress was made?
Name the challenges or obstacles hindering progress. Ask colleagues for help.
Are the timelines and resources allocated to the plan still appropriate?
Review if the next steps continue their alignment with the overall mission and vision of the organization.
Successful strategic plan implementation requires close collaboration and communication between all company departments. Each department plays a critical role in achieving the organization's goals and objectives, and it's essential to ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards the same outcomes. Regular check-ins are necessary to monitor progress, identify challenges and obstacles, and make critical plan adjustments. By following these best practices, organizations can ensure that their strategic plans are effectively implemented and achieve their intended outcomes. With a well-executed strategic plan, companies can stay competitive and agile in today's fast-paced business environment.