Most companies don’t do strategic planning and execution well. Just ask the people responsible for delivering on it: less than 10% of employees say they understand their company’s strategy.

Leaders list strategic execution as their number one business challenge. That is no surprise given that employees may or may be working on the right things to support a strategic plan they do not understand!

But strategic planning does not have to be daunting. Nor does it have to be complex to be effective. To the struggling executives today, we offer up:

Master Your Strategy in 3 Simple Steps:

1. Define the Plan

What it is: The plan should be long-term (5-10 years), high level, and connected to the grand vision. Strategic planning is the process of establishing and documenting the direction of your organization (where you are today and where you’re going long term).

Why it matters: Strategic planning aligns the people in your organization around purpose, mission, vision, and values. Plus, it sets your long-term goals and how you’ll reach them.

What it includes: while there are other items to consider, the best-in-class plans include:

  • Awareness – start by involving a diverse team in the planning process, then follow up with regular touch points to build broad awareness and commitment.
  • Aspiration – all great plans are aspirational, unifying people around a grand purpose and vision.
  • Adaptability – while cornerstones like purpose and vision don’t change, leave room for changes after careful review, shifts in the market, etc.

2. Establish Measurable Goals

What it is: Goals are measurable indicators of success, where your plan meets execution. Organizations call these objectives, scorecards, OKRs, or KPIs.

Why it matters: What gets measured gets done. Tying quantifiable metrics to goals helps employees understand how WELL or by HOW MUCH they accomplished or missed a goal.

What it includes: while there are other items to consider, the best-in-class goals include:

  • All SMART components – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound.
  • Responsibility – in the original use of SMART, the “A” stood for “Assignable” because you must always define who is responsible for each outcome.
  • Focus – measure what matters, and focus on a select list of the most important measures at each level. Five carefully chosen goals can be more effective than ten hastily chosen measures.
  • Reporting – regular reporting creates a reliable leading indicator of success for individuals, groups, and the organization.

3. Choose Meaningful Work

What it is: Work is what you do today in order to achieve a purpose or result, where your plan meets right now. Great execution is the result of strategically choosing to work on the highest value goals as efficiently as possible.

Why it matters: when employees work strategically, they are able to see progress fast and often. Many companies fall into the trap of “tasks = job done” and end up busy but don’t move the needle, resulting in low morale.

What it includes: while there are other items to consider, the best-in-class goals include:

  • Projects – project work set up with appropriate scope, objectives, and deliverables allows your team to deep dive into opportunities to improve.
  • Developments – high performing teams require each team member to sharpen and expand their skills constantly through professional and personal development.
  • Bandwidth – many plans fail because they fail to account for their team’s bandwidth, which is the available “processing power” of each individual and the team collectively to process routines, projects, and developments.
  • Alignment – many teams fail because they work hard but are not aligned with the big picture, often getting sidetracked in the weeds. Alignment is the concept where all work is directly tied to a strategic goal and therefore all work is strategic and all output can be quantified.

Whether you are starting to build your strategic plan, or in the middle of it, be sure that the key components are there and everyone has access to them:

1. Define the Plan

2. Establish Measurable Goals

3. Choose Meaningful Work

To learn more about how to manage & measure your strategic vision, visit or contact us at


About Strategypoint

Strategypoint is a simple, flexible, and customizable strategy software. It embraces the fundamental elements of all popular strategy management best practices and lets you use them in the way that works best for you and your team.

Our goal is for you to have the peace of mind that your strategy is world-class and that it is working.