Components and Best Practices of Strategic Implementation

Goal succession is sometimes called cascading because the activity resembles a waterfall.
Goal succession is sometimes called cascading because the activity resembles a waterfall. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

The key implication of strategic implementation is understanding that short-term goals translate to longer-term objectives. During implementation, managers take the “big-picture” needs of the organization and break them down into manageable plans for departments and individual employees. These plans are further broken down into daily (and even hourly) goals.

Creating Short-Term Objectives

Short-term objectives turn business strategies into functioning operations. For example, a business strategy to raise revenue turns into a long-term objective of a 20 percent increase in sales, which turns into a daily increase of 1.5 extra sales per representative. Even employee-specific short-term goals need coordination with companywide objectives because conflicting goals could stagnate the strategy. This is why it’s important to ensure that strategies are implemented with a comprehensive action plan outlining specifics and minimizing incompatible objectives.

Measuring Short-Term Objectives

The managers who craft short-term objective plans must ensure the goals are measurable. Measurable objectives state the goal along with when and how to achieve the goal. Measurable parameters help track both individual employee performance and collective advancement toward strategic goals. Conflicting objectives can be reconciled through this concentration on measurement. However, measuring productivity goals is easier than measuring performance goals. Issues with performance goal measurement can be overcome through an initial focus on the performance activity, followed by emphasis on the outcome of the performance.

Setting Priorities

Part of crafting a strategy includes determining which objectives take precedence over the other objectives. If establishing measurements fails to work through conflicting goals, prioritizing should solve the issue. Business strategists set priorities by emphasizing the desired strategic outcomes solidified by the company’s official statements. For example, a strategic commitment to customer service would result in objectives geared toward pleasing every customer. Other objectives such as speed and quality are also important to a degree, but have a different priority level.

Short-Term to Long-Term Goal Succession

At some point during the strategic implementation process, employees reach enough short-term goals to claim strategic goal achievement. The link between short- and long-term strategic objectives is sometimes called cascading because the activity resembles a waterfall. Employee daily activities and goals add up to departmental weekly goals, then monthly objectives and so on until the activity pushes through the strategic objective.

Functional Tactics

Functional tactics are the routine functional actions that help cascade the goals. Functional tactics include time horizon, specificity and participants. An activity’s time horizon informs if an activity needs to be done “now” or soon, and describes how long the task should take. Specificity lists exactly how each task should be done. The participants lists who does what activity within the time horizon.

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