During the last few weeks I have been writing about how develop a plan to find new customers in new markets, better known as market diversification. The first part of the process is to analyze your existing customers, markets and the products you sell to find the ones that are the most profitable. Then it is necessary to put your plan together, establish the short list of priorities and the actions connected with executing your plan. My focus now is to discuss Executing Your Plan, because without a solid understanding of execution your plan will just be another door stop in your office.
No, that’s not a typo. By Alignment Alignment I mean you need to ensure that both your People and your Processes are aligned for execution. Just think about how hard it would be to find your car in a crowded parking lot in which everyone ignored the rules and parked wherever they wanted randomly at any angle and in any direction. Focusing on the necessary alignment between your people and your processes brings order to chaos and will drive your execution plan toward success.
Let’s assume you have developed an A3 Plan and can now tell the story about what your plan will be to find new customers in new markets. If you haven’t, read my past articles at the Manufacturing Line Blog at AllBusiness.com, http://www.allbusiness.com/manufacturing-services/4967954-1.html.
Questions to Answer About Alignment
Let’s talk more about aligning your people and your processes to execute your plan. Following are some of the questions your need to answer to ensure your company is aligned organizationally to execute:
- While developing your plan, have you talked to everyone in the company who will be affected by it and processed their suggestions and feedback into the final version? If not, your plan will be doomed from the start because not all of your people will buy into it.
- Have you linked your short list of priorities and the actions needed to accomplish them with the people responsible for executing the actions? It does no good to have an action without ownership.
- Do your people have enough time and support to complete the actions they have been assigned? If the actions require 50% of a person’s time for six months and you only give them 10%, don’t expect the actions to be completed.
- Have you linked the timelines and metrics for each action so you can measure the results? Not having metrics will inhibit your ability to manage the plan
- Have your people identified the resources they need to successfully execute an action and have you made decisions on finding and deploying these resources? If not, your plan will only be partially executed and not as successful as it could be.
- Do you follow the Plan, Do, Check (Study), Act (Adjust) approach to managing plans and projects? This process insures a continuous approach to planning, taking action, reviewing progress and learning and then adjusting the plan. It is also called the Deming Cycle after Dr. W. Edwards Deming.
- Have you linked the compensation plan with the plan? People do what they get rewarded for, so make sure they are rewarded for the right activities.
This article is the first in a short series on Executing Your Plan. Look for the next installment next week.