Once a company’s top executives approve a project or annual plan, the implementation process begins. Proper implementation requires that all members of the organization know what is expected of them, and when. If the implementation plan is constructed correctly, each department will be supplied with the human and financial resources it needs to meet the plan's objectives. While it is up to you how you implement a strategy, it starts with detailed planning, starting from the top of the organization and filtering down to each employee.
Change and Importance of Implementation
A company’s plan is, by necessity, a statement of change. It describes changes to organizational structure, business strategy, personnel levels, budgetary expenditures — even in some cases changes in the products the company offers or the markets the company serves. Change can be unsettling to people within an organization. Successful plan implementation involves explaining these changes in a logical manner so the reasons for the changes are understood.
Transmitting Departmental Goals
The company’s plan will include goals for each department or functional area. Some goals will be financial, such as fixed-dollar sales quotas for the sales and marketing department, or reducing overhead by $20,000. Others will be more qualitative, such as lowering customer complaints by 25%.
Communicating the goals to each department head — and eliciting their full cooperation — gets the plan implementation off to a strong start. Each manager must see how achieving the individual goals fits into the overall success of the company.
Prioritizing and Setting Due Dates
Managers must decide which departmental tasks must be accomplished, prioritize these tasks and schedule due dates for each task to be completed. Successful implementation assumes the architects of the plan know what each department is capable of achieving during a given time period. Unrealistic due dates cause frustration. They may eventually lower productivity or lead to staff turnover if people feel they are under unrealistic time pressures or are under-resourced for the task.
Assigning Clear Responsibilities
Implementation of the plan requires that each person in the organization , and not just management-level personnel, knows what his duties are under the new plan. Supervisory personnel are given the goals and responsibilities first, then break them down into responsibilities for each individual who reports to them.
Encouraging Departmental Cooperation and Coordination
A company is like a machine with lots of moving parts. They must all work in sync in order for the machine to work at top efficiency. Each department within a company requires input, information and effort from other departments. Part of successful plan implementation is making sure lines of communication are open between departments so they can coordinate their responsibilities and due dates, and a spirit of teamwork is fostered.
Monitoring the Implementation Plan
As the year goes on, actual financial results are measured against those in the plan. Negative variances in the plan require immediate attention before problems get worse. Analyzing why these variances are occurring enables top management to adjust business strategies, including expenditures, in order to get the company back on course to achieving the forecasted revenues and profits.
Brian Hill is the author of four popular business and finance books: "The Making of a Bestseller," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "Attracting Capital from Angels" and his latest book, published in 2013, "The Pocket Small Business Owner's Guide to Business Plans."