Buffalo Wild Wings requires a strategic plan in order to fully understand what actions it needs to take in order to compete in the restaurant business. While the food service industry has its own unique provisions for success the creation of the strategic plan follows a similar formulation procedure throughout many industries. The creation of the goals and objectives, schedule, milestones, responsibilities and accountability of the plan are all key areas for the strategy and the plan to reach that strategic plateau.
The implementation of a strategic plan can be a daunting task and requires a multitude of inputs to become a successful reality. Implementation ranges from tactical operations through operational implementations and ultimately meeting the strategic intent of the plan. This includes pulling in multiple resources to define, analyze and measure objectives, prepare and operationalize action items, create schedules and milestones as well as embedding accountability throughout the process to ensure buy-in and ownership of the project (Kaufmann and Desbazielle 1969). As the process of creating a strategic plan unfolds there are some key areas that are important to develop and ensure the focus of the implementation team is guided. These areas include enhanced communication, engagement, alignment of goals and objectives and prioritization.
OBJECTIVES AND TACTICS
The focus areas begin with communication. The ultimate purpose of the communication is to raise awareness of the strategic plan; increase adoption of those members impacted by the plan and facilitates the growth and inputs of the team in the overall plan. When developing a strategy the end state of the plan will impact all aspects of the business and key stakeholders as well as members of the areas impacted should be aware of the changes and understand the direction the strategy is following. Communication also facilitates engagement but does not fully complete the engagement activity.
It is imperative to include all the representatives of the business as well as those outside of the business, if critical to the business process, to provide input into the strategic planning process. Dependent upon the culture of the organization there are many methods to solicit feedback and to engage the constituents. Face to face meetings or focus groups to gather ideas and utilize the group as a sounding board for ideas can help direct the overall strategy as well as bringing in suppliers or other outside entities to understand the limitations or other focus areas that could be addressed in the strategy for areas of improvement. While these types of interactions can create a group of requirements for the strategy it is also important to align the lower level goals and objectives to the strategic goals and objectives to ensure the direction of the business is being driven by every level of the organization. Each level of the organization must be in alignment with the senior level of the organization in terms of the overall strategic intent of the business.
While creating these goals and objectives, communicating the purpose and direction of the strategic plan and aligning people as well as resources there is a critical aspect of the prioritization of goals and objectives for the strategy. Setting the priority will enhance the overall understanding of the direction of the strategy as well as the importance to the success of the company. By implementing all of the aforementioned actions it will greatly increase the opportunity for success for the implementation of the strategic plan.
MILESTONES AND ACTIONS
The key milestones are created by implementing toll gates or thresholds for the project to go through. The key milestones for the strategic plan include those key areas or focal points within the project’s timeline that require special attention (PMI 2008). For the implementation of the strategic plan these milestones include creation of the vision statement, sign-off of the charter, completion of the scope statement, resource allocation based upon the completion of the work breakdown structure, time-based project implementation reviews, communication deliveries and project completion (Miller 2009). These milestones accomplish multiple objectives for the project. The first and foremost is the accountability of progress within the project. Without measurable objectives and tasks the project would not show value to the stakeholders. This also facilitates the second objective and that is to provide a measurable value for the amount of resources devoted to the project (Fleming and Koffleman 2010).
ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESOURCES
Accountability and resource allocation throughout a project provides the foundation for success in any project. In building and implementing a strategic plan there must be support by senior leadership as well as their guidance to provide the direction for the company. The leadership’s authority and support will trickle down the organization and enhance the support for the strategy throughout the business. Without the leadership’s support the strategy will fall on deaf ears and success will be in jeopardy.
ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES AND RISK MANAGEMENT
With any changes the strategic plan could result in organizational changes. This type of change could lead to additional leadership support provided to the individual restaurants throughout the country. Additional support could infringe upon the current management’s business territory leading to potential conflicts among the implementation team and the established leadership at each location. With any risk assessment there needs to be a risk mitigation plan in place. For this specific risk a plan to firmly establish the roles of the new leadership support as well as a clearly defined time frame in which their presence can be expected. This will allow the established management teams to understand that the changes are not permanent and their positions are not necessarily under duress and would facilitate the support of operational and tactical leadership.
The end state is the fully implemented awareness and implementation of the strategic plan throughout the organization. This includes communication throughout the organization, establishment of the key milestones and the way ahead to achieve those goals and objectives and the full support of leadership for the necessary resources and buy-in necessary for success.
Fleming, Q. W., & Koffleman, J. M. (2010). Earned value project management. Project Management Institute.
Kaufmann, A., & Desbazielle, G. (1969). Critical path method. New York, NY: Gordon and Breach Science Publishers.
Miller, D. (2009). Building a project work breakdown structure: visualizing objectives, deliverables, activities, and schedules (esi international project management series). Boca Raton, Fl: Auerbach Publications.
Project Management Institute.(2008).A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) Fourth Edition. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.