Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists


Accountability is Ongoing in effective Strategic Plans

Tuesday 14 April 2015

One of the three main weaknesses in Strategic Planning inside organisations is an insufficient level of Accountability to the stated intentions of the strategic plan. And the main cause is the 'project gates' approach used to track progress. But you can overcome that weakness. If you truly want to

In the Project Gates apporoach, arbitrary dates are selected for the expected completion of certain stages of a project, or in our case, the Strategic Plan. As an initial sketch the conept is fine because it gets us started toward building a better level of understanding of what we want to achieve and potential dates for completion.

We all know that business conditions can change rapidly and because they can and often do change, the reliance on project gates as markers for progress, will typically see expected results missed. And the reason is that the execution team and those who hold responsibility for being accountable, aren't looking at the same markers of progress. The execution team are looking at the micro level of activity - things being done. Their focus is on 'build' 'make' 'complete' as they ought to be.

But the accountability team will be looking at a different factor - they'll be looking at TIME - the expected end date of a project component and typcially do not look at progress UNTIL either the expected end date has been reached or the component build is finished. At that point most organisations will discover one of two things - the expected end date has been reached but the project stage is not completed, or the project stage is completed but the date has blown out way beyond the one initially stated as the completion point. 

Fixing this issue comes down to the Org-Ev model's 'Monitoring' phase which does two things for you:- it strengthens your Accountability because you have paid attention along the entire build to signals that alert you to being On Track or Off GTrack; and it enhances your Adaptability to significant changes in your operatiing conditions which may call for a rethink or shift of allocation of resources. The Monitoring phase turns your Strategic Plan into a dynamic ever active document, not a set and forget tome to be reviewed again in a few years time.

Project Gates work for a framework. But if results matter, you'll benefit greatly from enhancing your level of awareness of progress based on On Track or Off Track signals, that you generate at the time of putting your plan together. That is a step frequently missed by organisations of all types. It is a missed step that causes untold angst down the track and can be readily avoided

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