Don't let your Strategic Plans become BOTS.
(That is, Books On The Shelf)
Strategic initiatives fail far more often than they succeed.
Decades of research by Harvard Business Review, Gallup Business Journal, and McKinsey Company have consistently identified three key elements of the initiatives that succeed.
Connect the dots.
Provide a clear structure for the initiative and make it readily understandable.
Your people need a clear picture of the overall plan and how it all comes together. Help them see the "why" and they will reward you with successful execution.
Just connecting the dots increases success rates by 150%.
Give them information.
You've given your managers an objective, now give them a chance to succeed.
Access to good information when they are actually making decisions allows your people to monitor progress and make course corrections.
Getting the right information into the right hands is a great way to DOUBLE initiative success rates.
Tell them what you want.
An objective stating "Create a thriving downtown*" is bound to fail...or succeed, depending on your expectations.
State it as "Decrease the retail vacancy rate within the 10-block downtown district from 35% to 20% within 12 months" and we can all agree whether or not it got done.
If you want a book of fancy ideas that sits on your shelf, the first statement is fine. If you want a plan that can be executed, you have to create specific metrics and milestones to strive towards.
(*Actual objective from a large city's strategic plan.)