Implementation is the process that transforms goals, principles, objectives, and strategies into actual change that benefits children and families. Implementing your strategic plan is as important — or even more important — than your strategy.
Steps Toward Implementation
Communication is a critical, multi-faceted step of strategic plan implementation. Communication about the details of the strategic plan should occur within the Core Leadership Team, with the Community Collaborators, with each agency’s senior leadership, and within the larger community. Use multiple formats, adapted to the specific audience. Consider infographics, web-based presentations, brochures, action plans, etc.
The next step is to actually begin implementing each of the objectives and strategies identified in your strategic plan. Successful implementation hinges on active collaborative leadership, high visibility of the strategic plan, and shared accountability of implementation.
Collaborative leadership, featuring designated team leads for each goal or objective, can be a means of increasing active leadership from diverse stakeholders. In collaborative leadership, the leader’s job is not to decide what to do and to tell the group, but rather to lead the process and guide the discussion. Collaborative leadership encourages ownership of the activity, builds trust and dialogue, and helps to avoid traditional “turf issues.”
It is important to keep your strategic plan visible and part of your system of care’s everyday work. As your Core Leadership Team makes decisions, referring back to your strategic plan helps to ensure those decisions are aligned with your vision, mission, principles, and goals. Changes in local leadership, priorities, and funding sources can affect the evolution of a local system of care. Refer to the plan often and revisit it as necessary to help keep your efforts on the right track. Continue to give your plan a high profile by keeping it on the front page of your system of care web site.
Ask your participating agencies to provide a link from their web sites, too. Also, remind your Core Leadership Team partners that they are encouraged to regularly update their agency leadership on the overall implementation of the system of care strategic plan. Shared accountability of the implementation of the strategic plan increases the likelihood of your success.
Using the collaborative leadership model, ask team leads to identify ways to motivate the group and keep members focused on their goals. Develop, offer, and share easy ways for all participants to track, summarize, and share progress on strategies, objectives, and goals. At regularly scheduled Core Leadership Team meetings, consider integrating each team lead’s progress reports or status updates on specific objectives into regular agenda items. If progress on a particular objective isn’t occurring at the planned pace, trouble-shoot with the Team to identify barriers to implementation and potential solutions. Remember that implementing change can be very difficult. Make sure your Team celebrates incremental milestones as well as the completion of larger milestones.