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When all the processes of strategy formulation is completed, and now, voila, you have it in a nice two-ring binder for everyone to see. Congratulate yourself for a job well done.
After the communications campaign is launched and the implementation starts, four things can happen and you are the best judge for it as the main executive tasked with spearheading this project.
1. There are no changes to be done as everything that went into the strategy document suits the rest of reality that follows. If you believe that you have a perfect document, very well. Let' see in the next few months.
2. There are minor revisions that will need to adjusted, mainly the baseline data, the situational assessments, the analysis for which the decisions were based. These elements are ordinarily monitored, assessed, and adjusted as the strategy moves forward.
3. Major disruption that derailed or almost decapitated the strategy. There was a change in the whole landscape of the organization, internally, in terms of capacity, interests, and aspirations such as a leadership vacuum due to a leadership and management crisis, a situation where a major funder has pulled out creating a huge financial burden, and other internal stakeholder issues that would derail the implementation or compromise its chances of success. Another example of a external threat to the strategy was the COVID19 pandemic which based on many accounts, left many purpose-driven organizations without an anchor for 6-12 months just operating and surviving. Not even thinking about growth strategy or change initiatives.
4. The strategy is useless, unimplementable, a mirage in a desert. Well, this is the worst kind of realization that can happen after a 6-12 month process. It could happen to any organization without having to think too much. Say for example, you have a totally new Board, a totally new executive team, a totally new set of staff and leaders, no budget for implementation and the previous leaders who put this together bid sayonara with you nothing to work on. The new leadership could not, will not, assume accountability and responsibility, and have no will power or creativity or simply felt powerless to enact anything other what they created. Best scenario is to reduce this to a doable strategy that could work in new circumstances. Keep it real and simple.
These four scenarios are real-life hurdles neatly disguised in confused state- aka what makes you sleepless at night. Besides the initial worry about not going smoothly as planned, there are always options and alternatives. Talk to your Board. Consult the experts in this area. Read what others have done in your sector. Confer with colleagues. And lastly, the smartest way is to learn from the mistakes of others.
If you're interested to deep dive into your strategy, change, and engagement issues, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't wait for the perfect time, situation, or budget.
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