Implementing an Execution Process for your Strategy

We work very hard to define our annual plans – but sometimes they never get fully implemented.  Great intentions and a lot of diligent work by you and your team, but not executed.  It’s not because the plan was not solid.  And not because the company does not care.  It’s most likely because there was not a process committed to execute the plan.

A company executive recently asked for my assistance in annual planning with their team, centered on using a Policy Deployment Methodology to help organize their strategic plan into an execution process.  It is proven method to ensure execution of your strategy and objectives. 

Take a look at the example Policy Deployment graphic above – called an X-matrix. This example chart gives you a feel for how you can define strategies, and the tactics to drive them.  The Policy Deployment Methodology can be a powerful tool that pulls together the whole organization around executing the strategic objectives of the company.  It moves your team beyond just defining the strategy and key goals, but also outlining how you will execute, resource, and get targets accomplished.  This is what we want, right?  The results are what matter!

Utilizing the Policy Deployment Methodology as a foundation, here are 4 steps you can take to ensure your annual strategic plan is executed effectively:

Step 1 – Set ambitious high-level 3-year Breakthrough Objectives. 

Since it is January, many of you have already set your annual objectives.  But what about your 3-year break through objectives?  You should do both.  Make sure the strategies are defined clearly, that you are thinking big enough, and that they are fully accepted by your leadership?  What you can do initially is confirm that you have gained agreement with your team.  You can do this easily by presenting a simple 1-page summary back to the team (at your next staff meeting?) of your strategies.  Ask for their input on the objectives, key metrics, and resources required in their department to implement.  Start high-level, and then work your way to define more details with their input incorporated.  Try it out!

Step 2 – Define Annual objectives. 

You probably have defined your strategies and financial targets for the coming year.  But don’t forget about your tactics.  The tactics describe more specifically how we will achieve the strategies.  In terms of framing this up, you can break down your strategies, financials, and tactics into the following five segments:

  1. Penetrate Existing Markets
    • Define your existing markets
    • Define your existing products
    • Define the profile of your current Customers
    • How will we win New Customers? Who will you target and why will they buy? 
  2. New Product Launches
    • What new products and services are we planning to launch in the coming 1-3 years?
    • How effective have you been at launching new products?  A way to look at this is to define the ‘% of your total company revenues that are tied to new products launched in the last 3 years’.  Is it higher than 25%?
    • Define plans for service products – they should be treated as seriously as all other products 
  3. Expanding to New Markets
    • What programs do we have defined to take our current products into new markets (new geographies, new verticals)
    • Since new market expansion can be risky, you might take a look at the proven low-risk approach that I have used in my companies – it is defined in The Growth Cube if you want to check it out there.  Or ask me for more details.
  4. Pricing
    • Are there opportunities to increase price where you are adding a lot of value.
  5. Operations
    • Look at the profitability of your business by product, by customer, by project. Do the best you can at getting a picture of this – usually this information is not easily accessible.  What do you see?
    • Are there segments in your business that are lower margin? What are the opportunities to improve the margin or efficiency? 

Step 3 – Create a realistic plan for hitting those objectives

It will take some time and work with your leadership team to agree on the company’s objectives, but it’s important to have the team’s buy-in and commitment to making things happen.  After reaching that agreement, the questions are:

  1. How do we do it?
  2. How do we measure success?

Each functional leader works collaboratively with his or her team to determine how each team will impact the company strategy and make them happen.  Talking through their concerns and issues will reveal the potential impact on each department as well as the business itself.  Have faith in your team.  They will identify valid challenges, and they also will help you develop a plan to overcome those challenges, to achieve the company’s goals.

Execution is about the discipline of getting things done.’

Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

Step 4 – Executing the plan. As the team uses the X-matrix (see chart above) to cascade the breakthrough objectives down to the point of impact, and as each team creates action plans, department leaders begin to understand how they can directly contribute to the company’s success. The more time that the team spends in discussions, the deeper the buy in, and the greater the likelihood of success.  For larger companies, you can add layers of depth to the X-Matrix using software tools to help you define detailed steps and actions.  You can keep it simple if you are a small business, but you still have to spend focused time and effort on this topic if you want your plans to succeed.

Along with this 4-step process, I would highly suggest you compliment it by getting your leadership team a copy of The Growth Cube book.  The Growth Cube can be used to get everyone to think bigger, and to frame up your strategies.  It is ‘an execution book’ that sync’s nicely with the Policy Deployment Methodology. 

The bottom line is this: An effective execution process makes it possible for companies to regularly and predictably achieve breakthrough improvements in performance.   The Policy Development Methodology can help you set breakthrough strategic objectives, create an action plan for achieving those objectives, and establish a disciplined process for making it happen – and that can help take your business all the way to the top!

Ready to explore your potential?

  1. 1-on-1 Coaching: Gary has implemented the ideas above successfully with his own teams, and he is actively refining them today with his CEO coaching customers. Can we help you implement positive results in your company? Contact Gary directly:
  2. Learn at your own pace: Join The Growth Cube Academy – a training school for small business CEOs that includes 20-minute video workshops conducted by Gary that you can listen to at your leisure, and focus in on specific topics.
  3. Think – Order Gary’s book, The Growth Cube, or join Gary’s newsletter and stay up-to-date with new successful models and tools!
  4. Learn more about how Gary is applying these principles real-time in his startup company. Go to and sign up to see a demo or invest in Gary’s AI and imaging analytics software products that help improve patient wound healing.