Once a vision has been developed, it must be properly implemented. Without the implementation stage, a vision will be only a plan, without any real world effects. Implementation will be an ongoing and organisation-wide task, and this article works through the key steps of realising your organisational vision.
Have an action plan
- Identify the priorities
Work out the most crucial components of the vision to be implement: ask yourself ‘what actions/changes/policies can the vision not live without?’ Whatever the answer is, those are your priorities. Make sure those priorities are communicated to others and are treated appropriately. By focusing on the priorities you do not have to try to do everything at once.
- Identify roles and responsibilities
Work out who needs to do what in order to have these priorities met. Do some roles need to change? Be merged? Or do new roles need to be created? Make sure that these roles are clearly defined with specific responsibilities assigned to them.
- Translate your strategy into operational terms
Identify key accountabilities for each priority: this will involve developing actions, budgets, policies and procedures to turn the vision into a clear operational plan. The American Management Association states that “Implementation involves successfully identifying and allocating the required capital and human resources and executing the necessary organisational changes. People will be more successful if they understand the objective and their accountabilities, deliverables and timeframes.”
- Have contingency plans in place
If your vision involves some kind of organisational change, there will inevitably be some degree of risk involved. Brainstorm the possible risks, then rank them based on the severity of damage they could cause should they eventuate and the likelihood of that actually happening. With this scaffold in place, develop contingency plans.
- Measure the success (or lack of)
Develop an internal system for measuring the success of the vision itself, as well as its internal implementation throughout the organisation. This will involve developing a system of metrics to measure by, and regular opportunities for feedback between and within teams, and levels of management.
- Promote the vision
The vision needs to be explicitly and regularly communicated to the whole organisation. A good vision is one that is accessible to and understood by all those impacted by it. Communicate it in emails, meetings, and conversations.
- Executive support
Without executive buy-in, selling your vision to the organisation will be almost impossible. Ensure executives and senior managers are fully across the details of the new vision and are able to promote and support it to their teams.
- Lead by example
Part of the communication needs to done through action. Are you embodying the values embedded in the vision? Are you ensuring that the vision is informing your own decision-making prioritising?
- Communicate with stakeholders
Seek out those most affected by the new vision and hear their views. What do they like? What don’t they like? While you do not need to take all their opinions on board, you do need to make sure that they are heard and, most importantly, that they feel listened to.