Many businesses, whatever their size, go through a regular cycle where they develop their strategic direction and goals and then develop various plans to implement the strategy e.g. Strategic Plan, Annual Plan, Operational Plan, Corporate Plan… you get the picture…. where various departments within the organisation develop their list of things they wish to achieve, often without a lot of thought as to how this is really helping the organisation to works towards its strategic goals. As an example, for HR it might be "decentralizing the annual performance appraisal process", for Finance it might be "implementing a new finance system" and for customer service it might be "launching our new Customer Charter" and on it goes….
These initiatives can be challenging to implement as everyone tries to juggle their time, budgets and the various other resources required to turn strategy into action and the achievement of outcomes that make a difference.
While it is relatively easy to be competent at formulating strategies and developing written plans it's much more difficult to effectively implement these plans and achieve outcomes that truly make a difference.
From my experience, excellent organisations do something different… they ensure that their leaders have the capability and capacity to implement change and improvement … to turn strategy into action. Excellent organisations hit the ground running, take deadlines seriously and understand the outcomes they are achieving. They communicate and get people on board, excited and working together to achieve outcomes.
Average organisations talk a lot and plan a lot but lack the competence, the will and the accountability to make it happen.