In the last installment, Phase THREE: Vision and Strategic Goals which you can read here, we talked about the honeymoon being over – and that it’s not a bad thing. Because when people who are in relationship, whether at home or at work, have to come together to talk about their shared goals for the future and hammer out their differences in order to produce a unified vision, great things can happen.

As I’ve stated in each one of these posts, the primary benefit of strategic planning isn’t just the plan itself. It’s the result of what happens when stakeholders come together, often for the first time, to work as a team.

Phase FOUR: Create and Implement Plans and Launch, begins with a review each of the four to five strategic goals that were created. A task force will be named for each goal, and a team lead appointed. We’ll determine the desired end result – what constitutes success – for each one. Then we’ll work backwards, developing the actions necessary to arrive at those results.

(A reminder that a task force is so called because it comes together to accomplish a specific task in a specific period of time, and then disband. This is a critically important point to make when assembling your teams. People can enjoy their work together to a far greater degree when they know that they signed up for a limited time engagement.)

A timeline with deliverables will be established, so we have a defined path to follow, and will know, at any given point, if we’re on time and on task, or if we need to make a course correction.

I’m a big believer in the power of ceremonial actions to memorialize important occasions, so I ask every team member to sign off on the plan. It cements in people’s minds that they’re in this together, that everyone has some part to play in its success, and that they’re agreeing to the direction of the company.

In the final installment, Phase Five: Evaluation and Course Correction, coming out next week, we’ll explore one of my favorite phrases of all time: “after enlightenment comes the dishes.”