Posts Tagged ‘plans’

Supporting Change

August 28, 2014

butterflyGreen bkgrd

In any successful change effort, there are three general stages: (1) design and planning, (2) implementation and (3) review or evaluation. For simplicity, let’s assume the design and planning is strategic and reflects on a clearly framed challenge that’s commonly understood. And, that routine review occurs so feedback for adaptation is assured. Then, let’s point our attention at implementation.

Why does implementation matter? Because the choice to commit resources has significant opportunity cost, and its quality is directly connected to both progress and the ultimate impact. Research indicates that those organizations with strong implementation capabilities are nearly five times more likely to generate successful change. This raises important questions about an organization’s implementation capabilities and practices.

High quality implementation relies on vital practices. They include:

Prioritization & Planning. Strong choices along with great plans are made, widely known and get consistent focus.

Ownership & Commitment. Individuals and teams have cited responsibilities and are passionate about achievement.

Accountability. Results as well as progress are connected to people with both incentives and sanctions. There is urgency – a compelling forward momentum generated by deadlines and other time sensitive pressures.

Effective Program/Project Management. A standard set of actions and attitudes supports work routines. These are integrated with standard cycles and functions of the enterprise.

Sufficient Resources & Capabilities. There are no deficits or limitations in the tools, capital, skills & knowledge essential to responsibilities.

Continuous Improvement. Learning is intentional, improvement is routinely sought and expected.

Sustainability Intent. A long-view, for what serves mission/margin, is present from the start.

Notice  sequence  in the list above. Carefully chosen priorities comes first for a reason. So, getting those clear (and shared) in your organization is job 1. Then, think about building the seven common practices enterprise-wide. Articulate actions that will systematically develop both the discipline and skills to be sure implementation gets attention. It matters.Without it,  changes won’t happen.

Lisa Wyatt, Ed.D. is chief strategy officer and partner in Phillips Wyatt Knowlton, Inc. PWK is a performance management resource for systems and social change with clients worldwide. Lisa has cross-sector and international experience. She is an author and W.K. Kellogg Leadership Fellow. See:



Great Plans Adjust

January 6, 2012

“The only thing we know about the future,” said Peter Drucker, a renowned management advisor, “is that it’s going to be different.”

This gives some important weight to thoughtful alteration and re-calibration. It’s very important to plan well from the start – but just as important to implement with care by adjusting along the way.

The world changes fast. It feels like the pace of change increases month-to-month. And scale grows exponentially, too. The “waves” are choppier. For example, the new normal in stock market swings isn’t a few dozen points in a day but 2-400 points. How can any plan be adequate, let alone savvy, when months pass from planning to action?

 David Kord Murray (a Silicon Valley innovation guru and former NASA staff) recommends a “fusion” of “strategic planning and tactical execution.” He advocates for adaptive management. We concur.

Delays Have Impact

Plans often fail because of poor implementation. The cues and conditions have changed by the time execution occurs. People often focus only on plan fidelity. Beware of inadequate attention to emerging information that affects analysis and should influence subsequent actions. Assumptions and even evidence that informed the initial plan may change – so tactics must, also.

Real-time, what’s vital is we recognize the implications of evolution in context and capabilities. Test your plans now for relevance and cogency…high scores there “win” over obsolescence and incoherence. Superstar athletes do…In hiking, climbing, skiing, and golf it’s vital to plan for the weather and “read” it as you proceed. It means you interpret during the competition and revise initial plans.

Fast Change

Adaptive management is a solution for the fast change we face in all the sectors – private, public and government. In a global knowledge economy, this requires some distinct competencies and experience. Sensing, analysis, interpretation, guiding are key. They can significantly influence resource allocation, integration, alignment and tactics.

Over time, with accountabilities and consequences, it’s possible to learn how to interpret emerging conditions and revise plans which enable success. The ability to demonstrate revision and improvisation are key markers of a strategist who manages well. So is thinking that “sees” top-down and bottom-up implications.

Flex & Twist

Prepare yourself and your team to flex, weave, bob, dance, turn, and twist. These are physical images that reflect adapting. These kinds of moves create Plan B. It’s important to anticipate changing plans as soon as you make them. Rigid may be tempting in conditions of uncertainty, but these days … it rarely gets results.

 –Lisa Wyatt, Ed. D. is a strategy architect and partner in Phillips Wyatt Knowlton, Inc. PWK is a performance management resource for systems change with clients worldwide. Lisa has cross-sector and international experience. She is an author and W.K. Kellogg Leadership Fellow. See :

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