All is not strategy. At some point in the life of a strategic plan, intentions must take wing, transforming word to deed.

Writing in the January/February issue of DesignIntelligence, Pearson Architects founder Melinda Pearson examines the process and tools of strategic plan implementation. She notes that before a plan can be fully realized, four supporting factors are necessary: marketing, operations, finance, and professional services. Lacking one or more of these elements, a firm’s performance will be marginalized.

Involve every employee in the implementation process, coaches Pearson. “Having the right staff in the right position with the right training is the fundamental key to successful implementation. If you do nothing else, this alone will keep your organization alive,” she notes. Assuring that everything is as it should be with regard to staff requires nothing less than impeccable leadership:

• Create energy that is focused on your goals.
• Communicate priorities daily.
• Recognize the difficulty of change.
• Maintain your role model status.
• Coach employees whose behaviors indicate they are struggling or resisting.

Also essential in strategic plan implementation is aligning goals with organizational tools. If you can answer yes to the following questions, Pearson suggests, you are on the road to action:

• Are you and your staff 100 percent on board?
• Does the client buy into your unique brand?
• Are your projects distinct?
• Do your procedures and systems support your goals?

And once you’re on this road, you’ll find you have little patience for colleagues who are all talk and no implementation.Read Pearson’s article, “Strategic Plan Implementation: How to Make Good Things Happen and Better Things Happen Consistently,” in the January/February issue of DesignIntelligence.