By Erica Olsen

Implementation is the phase that turns strategies and plans into actions in order to accomplish strategic objectives and goals. Implementing your strategic plan is as important as — or even more important than — your strategy. The critical actions move a strategic plan from a document that sits on the shelf to actions that drive business growth. Sadly, the majority of companies that have strategic plans fail to implement them. According to a Fortune cover story, nine out of ten organizations fail to implement their strategic plan for many reasons:

  • 60 percent of organizations don’t link strategy to budgeting.

  • 75 percent of organizations don’t link employee incentives to strategy.

  • 86 percent of business owners and managers spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy.

  • 95 percent of a typical workforce doesn’t understand their organization’s strategy.

A strategic plan provides a business with the road map it needs to pursue a specific strategic direction and set of performance goals, deliver customer value, and be successful. However, the strategic plan is just a plan; it doesn’t guarantee that the desired performance will be reached any more than having a road map guarantees the traveler will arrive at the desired destination.