Six Steps to Create an Effective Implementation Plan

Written by

Chuen Seet

As a team committed to helping organizations close their strategy-to-execution gap, we know that a substantiated implementation plan is an important tool to realize your strategy.

Leveraging a sound strategic roadmap before you begin to draft your implementation plan can help you avoid common reasons why strategies fail. This article from the Harvard Business Review explores common reasons that stop strategy implementation from happening effectively.

When you combine the high-level analysis of a strategic roadmap with the detail-oriented approach of an implementation plan, you can make sure your organization is in the best position to bring your strategy to life.

Here are our 6 steps to create an effective implementation plan

Step 1: Choose a method or approach to build your implementation plan

Everyone on your team should understand what process you are going to follow to determine the actions in your implementation plan.

Building out a substantiated strategic roadmap is a great way to ensure a quality implementation plan. Here at Jibility, we have developed two methods to drive consensus on what you need to do and why, so that your organization can build an implementation plan effectively:

6-step strategy-to-execution approach

This is a simplified capability-based planning approach that helps you to better understand the challenges and objectives of your business strategy. This empowers you to assemble initiatives based on what you need to do to improve your organization's capabilities, which in turn enables you to address the challenges and objectives.

Capability-based planning techniques ensure objectivity, clarity, and iron-clad rationale to satisfy the most analytical of stakeholders. The result is a high-level strategic roadmap that forms the bedrock of a detailed implementation plan.

4-step strategy-to-execution approach

If capability-based planning is too complex, or if you’re really pressed for time, the above 6-Step approach can be condensed into only 4 steps. This places more emphasis on linking strategic objectives directly to initiatives, and skipping capability analysis.

The end result is still an actionable roadmap, with clear linkage to your strategic objectives, which will inform the detail of your implementation plan and keep it relevant and on track.  

Step 2: Build your implementation plan incrementally

Business is unpredictable. Being able to build out your implementation plan incrementally, reviewing and adjusting as you go, is imperative to your success.

Don’t overthink. The best way to begin an implementation plan is to just start. Focus on creating a draft plan that captures your understanding at that point in time. After this, you will realize that your plan is incomplete (or could even be incoherent). That is okay! At this point, it's not time to be discouraged but to be excited that you made a start. You can now see the gaps and seek input from others.


Step 3: Gather feedback early and frequently

Make sure you seek out feedback from a range of stakeholders, including those executing your plan, subject matter experts and decision makers.

Receiving feedback is imperative. Most people tend to be better at giving feedback than suggesting original ideas (see point 2 in our strategy workshop tips), so presenting a draft plan will speed up the iterative creation process.

Deep dive into stakeholder engagement best practices on the IFC website.


Step 4: Adapt the implementation plan based on feedback

Update your implementation plan based on what you learn from others along your journey. The insights you gain through this process are invaluable; often more so than the final implementation plan. Stay positive and be collaborative.


Step 5: Build consensus with stakeholders

As you iteratively build your implementation plan by cycling through steps 2 to 4, continue to include your stakeholders on the journey. This will decrease the risk of surprises or misunderstandings in your final plan and help you to create an implementation plan that works towards achieving the most important elements of your organization’s strategy.


Step 6: Publish your implementation plan (but be prepared for ongoing changes)

Your implementation should be a living document, under constant review and with the ability to pivot when change occurs.

Ensuring that the objectives in your implementation plan link back to your organization’s strategic goals can be difficult, especially when your plan is ever-changing. This is one of the reasons why we recommend creating a strategic roadmap before an implementation plan.

Keeping track of changes to your strategic roadmap can be challenging. But with a tool like Jibility, you can follow a unique method that leverages the best of capability-based planning, empowering you to close the strategy-execution gap in your organization.

Free strategic roadmap tool

Our free app, Jibility, takes you through the above 6 steps, but it also supports a 4-step approach that skips Capabilities and Actions for when you need an even faster result. Find about more about this approach with our nonprofit example.