“But I think your plan is not like that, so far I can see. It is practical and to the point. But now you must do it very nicely and complete it. Not that we make some plan, change things, then do not complete it, again change, this way, that way—no.” Letter to: Jayananda, Trai, Rsabhadeva – Honolulu, 14 May, 1972
The purpose of the implement phase of the strategic planning process also known as the execute phase, is to:
- Deploy resources to enable the smooth implementation of the action plans;
- Implement, test and roll-out the various changes, etc, as per the action plans;
- Track progress, and take corrective action to bring the implementation in line with the action plan; and
- Communicate progress and successes to enliven and encourage the devotee community to support and buy-in to the strategic change.
Implement or execute means to bring the strategic plan into the world of action. There are two primary elements of execution: “building blocks” and “core processes.”
Building Blocks: primarily focused on the leader(s). If your project is to change, the leaders must change first.
- The project’s leaders must have a clear understanding of what the project can become and which devotees are needed to affect the changes. They must insist on realism, choose priorities from the overall strategic plan, follow through, create a rewarding experience for the devotees working on the project, bring in new devotees as necessary, and help the devotees’ working on the project expand their capabilities by training them. The leaders must also be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses and deal with them effectively.
- The leaders must become architects of cultural and performance change. They must help the devotees develop a new set of beliefs. They also need to encourage healthy, honest dialogue with those they serve. They should replace secrecy with dialogue, denial with disclosure, blame with humility, respect, and dignity, avoidance and turf protection with collaboration, and passivity and lack luster performance with initiative.
- The leaders must be prepared to put the right people into the right services and recognize both knowledge and skills (or notice when these are lacking). Leaders must have the courage to move devotees into other services if it helps the project flourish. They need to help devotees shake off mistaken assumptions and complacency, often by speaking the unvarnished truth and always by offering encouragement and inspiration.
Core Processes: Writing a strategic plan is only one-third of creating change. You’ll find the other two-thirds in the execution of the plan. Processes must be created to help the devotees you work with connect with one another, with the strategy itself, and with how you hope to realize the plan. There are three basic ways to think of this linking:
- The People Process: making the link with strategy and systems.
- The Strategy Process: making the link with people and systems.
- The Systems Process: making the link with strategy and people.
Depending on the complexity of the project, as a project leader, you might want to consider adopting a formal project life cycle methodology, which generally consists of the following steps: Plan, Analyze, Design, Build, Test, and Closeout. However, if you follow the simple steps noted below, you should be able to successfully implement your action plans.