What a User-Friendly Tool for Strategy Execution Looks Like (And Why Your Organization Needs One)

Does your strategy, the backbone of your organization’s success, live across various spreadsheets and documents? Or perhaps you use an obscure planning tool that only you, the strategy leader, fully comprehend? 

If so, you probably have departments operating in silos, each employing its own format, leaving a tangled web of disparate information. As the strategy leader, you face a number of challenges — updates delayed, clarity lost, team resistance, and decision-making based on gut feeling rather than data.

If this sounds familiar, you might consider shifting to a new tool to manage your strategy. A user-friendly, intuitive system that streamlines strategic planning and execution. From seamless onboarding to fostering collaboration across teams, the right tool becomes the cornerstone of effective strategy execution. Let’s look at some of the critical facets of a user-friendly system that catapults strategy leaders and their teams toward success.

A quick and simple onboarding process

A seamless onboarding process for a strategic planning and execution tool is more than a convenience. It’s the foundation of trust and buy-in from your team. Picture the following scenario — you introduce a new system promising to revolutionize your strategy. You say you’ll be able to provide comprehensive dashboards within four to six weeks. Promptly delivering on that promise builds confidence and trust in the tool and your leadership.

At AchieveIt, we prioritize a swift onboarding experience, aiming for a four to six-week implementation process. This starts with intensive training for power users, end users, and report reviewers. This training covers both software utilization and strategy execution best practices. The on-site training sessions include a practical application by incorporating the organization’s actual strategic plan into the software.

We focus on refining the plan and addressing missing elements like responsibilities, due dates, and metrics. By the end of the training day, your users become proficient enough to derive immediate value from the tool. Our goal is to bridge the gap from purchase to full software utilization in as little as four weeks (or six weeks if scheduling constraints apply). This is a stark contrast to typical software rollouts that are known for taking anywhere up to a year.

Easy to use for all users across your organization

Efficient strategy execution involves the collective efforts of various departments, requiring a system that accommodates all users, irrespective of their roles or expertise. Unlike many tools designed for specific user groups, an effective strategic planning tool should cater to diverse disciplines within an organization. Often, tools like MS Project or specific project management software serve the power users well but pose challenges for users outside those groups. This can lead to resistance and frustration.

The ideal system should balance power and simplicity. It needs to empower the plan managers with robust features while offering effortless navigation for end users making updates or seeking status reports. AchieveIt’s approach simplifies the process. Users receive an email link to update information directly, eliminating unnecessary steps that cause confusion or resistance. By reducing complexity and streamlining the update process, it mitigates common complaints of clunkiness and complexity.

Whatever tool you use, it should offer users access tailored to their specific responsibilities. This will eliminate unnecessary clutter of information. AchieveIt provides direct access to personalized update pages pertinent to each user’s role. This focused access minimizes distractions and streamlines the updating process, ensuring users interact solely with the data relevant to their tasks.

This type of design also eliminates the risk of vital information being accidentally deleted or altered. In platforms such as Excel or Google Sheets, users can inadvertently modify formulas or delete important data. This cannot happen with personalized update pages.

Tracking updates and ensuring accountability

When reviewing the progress of strategic implementation, traceability and accountability are key. But this is hard to achieve if your tools don’t allow you to assign tasks to specific individuals and when those individuals provide updates anonymously. 

Furthermore, many strategy leaders waste valuable time chasing their colleagues for updates. In a user-friendly system like AchieveIt, team members who are due (or overdue) for an update submission receive automatic reminders. 

This system creates a sort of carrot-and-stick dynamic. Users who submit their updates can access dashboards that clearly show how their contributions are critical for organizational progress — the carrot. On the other hand, those who have yet to submit their status updates are clearly seen on the same dashboard — the stick. Dashboards and reports highlight a user’s non-participation compared to the majority. This transparency ensures that everyone feels responsible for their contributions.

Optics matter in team dynamics. When most team members fulfill their obligations, and one doesn’t, it becomes conspicuous. It affects not only their standing in the reporting system but also their social credit within the team. AchieveIt’s traceability features foster a culture of mutual accountability, encouraging active participation and ensuring everyone feels engaged in the collective progress toward shared objectives.

Higher-quality reports and dashboards

Improving the process for obtaining status updates doesn’t just ease the workload — it also significantly improves the quality of your reports and dashboards. An easier updating process gives you the ability to increase the frequency of collecting status updates. As a result, the data you gather is more reliable.

Rather than biannual or quarterly updates, we encourage our users to aim for monthly update submissions. This means twelve data inputs annually instead of just two or four. Your reports now contain more current and accurate data. Ultimately, this means that strategy leaders are equipped to make more informed, timely, and effective decisions.

More effective team meetings

A user-friendly tool means better data output, and this ultimately means effective team meetings. Strategic planning sessions often turn into hour-long status update sessions. This leaves little to no room for brainstorming and problem-solving. 

You can avoid this by sharing progress updates with all stakeholders before a team meeting. This way, they enter the room ready to make the most of the time available. It’s good practice to aim for a 90:10 ratio when it comes to team meetings. This is where you spend 10% of the meeting running through updates and 90% of the time identifying and troubleshooting issues as well as celebrating successes. Unfortunately, this ratio is often reversed. 


Macon-Bibb County, Georgia Customer Story

Read this customer story to better understand how a local government enhanced monthly reporting, ensuring transparency on accomplished initiatives for both citizens and leadership with AchieveIt.

Macon-Bibb County, Georgia Customer Story

Macon-Bibb County’s shift from complexity to simplicity with AchieveIt

Macon-Bibb County, Georgia, stands as a pivotal hub in the state, facilitating cultural, transportation, and logistical activities. When city and county administrations were unified in 2014, the governing body faced a challenge — coordinating diverse departmental updates and transforming lengthy, fragmented reports into concise, actionable insights.

Embracing AchieveIt revolutionized their approach. The platform streamlined the reporting process, replacing manual data collection with automated emails tailored to each contributor. This user-friendly shift allowed diverse departments to use consistent reporting styles, ensuring unified and coherent communication.

Now, monthly reports, condensed to 12 pages, offer transparent insights via AchieveIt dashboards. These updates not only benefit citizens but also empower the team to dedicate more time to community service and agency collaboration.

Explore the full Macon-Bibb County success story and witness how AchieveIt catalyzed a more efficient, transparent, and community-focused approach to governance.


Meet the Author  Joseph Krause

Joe has helped organizations execute thousands of strategic, operational, and project plans in his 10+ years at AchieveIt. Joe is passionate about helping teams drive successful business outcomes with a focus on practical, easy to use advice. Joe graduated from Seton Hall University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and obtained a Masters of Science in Healthcare Communication from Boston University. Joe recently completed his studies at Rutgers University where he obtained a Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in finance.

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