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Managing Bumps in the Road During Implementation

We recently received the following question from a registered attendee during our ACHE Cluster session, Strategic Planning from Formulation to Action, in San Antonio:

If there are problems during strategic plan implementation, how does the plan need to be adjusted – at the initiative or the tactical level?

A strategic plan should be concrete enough to provide clear direction and focus of action for a number of years, yet flexible enough to respond to organizational and market pressures.

Inevitably, new issues will arise in any strategic plan’s life cycle. As new challenges emerge, health care leaders may deal with them narrowly and/or reactively, disregarding the plan framework and implementation underway. And certainly, implementation of any goal may encounter bumps in the road. However, a prudent leader will not rush to change course, but instead, consider the multiple factors affecting the implementation and address the cause of the issue, which may be rooted in the plan, or not.

Typical categories of unanticipated issues include:

  • Internal (e.g., culture, current processes or systems, resources)
  • External (e.g., change in market or competitor dynamics, relationships/partnerships)

The table below provides examples of issues that may arise during implementation and potential course corrections.