Strategic Plan: How to Measure Strategic Plan Progress

How should you measure the progress of your strategic plan? … Enda Larkin concludes his Five-Part series on strategic planning for hoteliers.

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Demystifying Strategic Planning
(Part 5)

In Parts 1-4, the focus was on creating cohesive linkages from Vision and Mission right down to specific activities in the annual plan. The final part of this series will explore the question: how will we know we are getting there?

The answer to this question can, of course, only come from measuring progress, analysing the implications of the results you get and taking action to continuously improve. Five basic steps can be taken to manage continuous improvement with regard to your strategic map:

  • 1. Define the results you want to achieve

    You will already know what you want to achieve – it’s your goals which have been developed based on your Vision and Mission.

  • 2. Take action to achieve the results you want

    Clearly, if you don’t implement your strategies through an annual business plan as described in Part 4, then seeking to measure impact is pointless, because you won’t see any results and, even if you did, you would not know why they occurred – be they good or bad.

  • 3. Consider how progress will be measured

    Certainly, you already measure impact in areas such as financial performance; however, when seeking to identify progress towards your goals, there may be measurement gaps to be bridged, because clearly not all the goals in your strategic map will be financial in nature. The key point here is that you only need those measures which are of value for you and relate to each of your primary stakeholders, owners, customers and employees:

  • 4. Measure Progress at defined intervals

    At defined intervals, the measures you have identified need to be produced so that you can track progress. For some measures, such as financial data, you will produce them frequently whereas others, such as the employee engagement percentage, might be taken quarterly, bi-annually or annually depending upon the scale of your operation.

  • 5. Analyse the results and make improvements

    The final stage of the continuous improvement cycle is the most important component and is really the cornerstone of the strategic map itself. Depending upon actual results achieved against expected you will obviously be faced with some decisions. If progress is not matching expectations, you must identify what’s causing the shortfall and take corrective action. Even when the result is positive, you still need to learn the lessons, so that you can make it even better in future. To strengthen your understanding of how your hotel is performing, you should also explore ways in which you can benchmark your results against industry norms and, better still, excellent companies. It is only through external comparison that you can really judge performance effectiveness.

Conclusion

There is no magic pill for creating an effective strategic map for your hotel but the principles we have covered in these five articles will set you on a course where devising a winning strategy is a more likely option.

All great hotels, whether they are big or small, independent or part of a chain, succeed in large part because they know what they want to achieve, implement a range of integrated actions to make that happen, track their progress and continuously improve based on the results they get.

INDEX: view all articles in this Five Part series

About Enda Larkin: Enda Larkin has over 25 years experience in the hotel industry having held a number of senior management positions in Ireland, UK and the US. In 1994 he founded HTC Consulting, a Geneva based firm, which specialises in working with enterprises in hospitality and tourism. Since that time, he has led numerous consulting projects for public and private sector clients throughout Europe and the Middle East.
He is author of Ready to Lead (Pearson/Prentice Hall 2007), How to Run a Great Hotel (How to Books 2009) which expands on the themes highlighted in this article, Quick Win Leadership (Oak Tree Press 2010) and The Impostor Leaders which is due to be published in 2011. He may be contacted via www.htc-consult.com or at info@htc-consult.com
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