Have you ever the phrase “An overnight sensation 10 years in the making“? In our world, we come across many organizations, teams, and individuals that this adage applies to.

What they share is an unwavering commitment to the preparation that is linked directly to performance. Here are 5 tips on how to improve strategic planning execution for organizations and various management teams

In his recent book, Great by Choice, Jim Collins refers to this principle as “the 20 Mile March”. His research demonstrates that organizations that were diligent in their preparation and stayed true to a steady and consistent strategic plan, performed well above the average over time.

The ’20 Mile March’ cautions against growing too quickly or overreacting in times of stress and encourages a disciplined and balanced approach to achieving goals.

We link preparation and performance to “above the line accountability”. One of the ways to prevent yourself, your team, or your organizations from slipping below the line is to be well prepared.

Over my fifteen seasons as a College Basketball Coach, I learned that superior preparation gave us the best opportunity for high levels of performance during the intensity of the game and the competition.

It prevented us from overreacting when times get tough and provided a sense of confidence that we could respond positively to the stress of the moment.

Here are five tips to improve your performance through preparation and strategic planning execution:

1. Develop a Clear Sense of Direction

Develop and implement a clear sense of direction in your strategic plan, along with a plan for execution that includes a realistic and consistent plan for the execution of strategy over time. Ensure your plan identifies accountabilities that include realistic timelines and performance metrics.

2. Closely Monitor Your Plan

Develop a regular cadence of closely monitoring the execution of your plan. Watch for signals that indicate new opportunities or challenges. Take time to predict and identify realistic and plausible future scenarios that may impact your ability to perform. Modify or revise your strategies and actions as required.

3. Remain Confident

Don’t overreact or overcompensate; never get too high or too low, too fast, or too slow. Remain confident in your preparation and your plan.

Resist the temptation to react too quickly to a growth/business opportunity that may put your plan or goals at risk. Similarly, when times get tough, thoroughly evaluate the issues, and then respond by asking, “How does this issue impact our overall goals and strategy?”

4. Stay Above the Line

There is often a temptation to go below the line and lay blame or make excuses when faced with adversity. Resolve to stick with your plan by remaining disciplined, focused, and confident by answering these 2 key questions: “What can we reasonably do to respond to this situation?” and, “How does our preparation help us to best respond?”

5. Forget About the Magic Bullet

When teams and organizations are well prepared with a solid strategic plan and plan for execution there is no need to look outside for that “magic bullet” that will provide the answer to addressing your challenges. Preparation breeds the confidence that challenges can successfully be addressed.

What are you doing to ensure, you, your team, and the organization are prepared and confident?

How well are you prepared to anticipate and stay the course when times get tough? What are your 5 tips to improve strategic planning execution for any organization or team?