From Living on a Prayer to Strategic Execution

Whoa, we’re half way there.
Whoa oh, livin’ on a prayer.
Take my hand, we’ll make it, I swear.
Whoa oh, livin’ on a prayer.
– Jon Bon Jovi



As we reach the halfway mark of 2023, it’s essential for business owners to assess their progress towards the goals they set at the beginning of the year. Many start with enthusiasm and a comprehensive strategic plan, only to see their focus wane as the whirlwind of day-to-day operations takes over. It’s time to shift from living on a prayer to strategic execution and accountability.

The Importance of Strategic Execution and Accountability

Without execution and accountability, strategic plans hold little value. It’s easy to make excuses for lack of progress or blame unforeseen roadblocks. However, as a CEO, I understand the importance of staying on track and working towards achieving your goals. Let’s explore how to turn your strategic plan into actionable steps that will lead to success.

Defining Your Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)

Start by envisioning your company’s future and setting a BHAG. Think big and define the goals you want to achieve, including a desired timeframe. This clear vision will help you create annual objectives that align with your long-term aspirations.

Setting Inspiring Objectives

To organize your thoughts, establish no more than 5 objectives (ideally 3-4) that cover major categories such as financial, product innovation/technology roadmap, marketing and brand development, and talent management. Separate objectives can be defined for sales, although they are often covered under financial results. These objectives should inspire and clarify where your company aims to be within a defined timeframe.

Defining Key Results

Key results are specific outcomes that indicate progress towards your objectives. When defining key results, ensure they have a direct link to a business objective. Assign clear ownership and state the level of authority involved. Set milestones, write down expectations, and be as specific as possible about what completing each key result entails.

Developing Quarterly Tasks and Initiatives

Break down your key results into specific tasks or initiatives that need to be completed. It’s advisable to define quarterly tasks rather than planning for the entire year. Be realistic about what you can achieve and commit to milestones. Clearly state how you will determine if a task is completed or not. This level of specificity ensures accountability.

Regular Progress Reviews

Schedule monthly progress reviews to assess how well you’re tracking towards your objectives. These meetings should focus on checking progress, identifying roadblocks, and determining necessary actions to overcome challenges. Make achieving your OKRs the top priority for your business and hold yourself and your team accountable for delivering on commitments.

Quarterly Celebrations and Renewed Planning

Every quarter, celebrate progress, discuss challenges, and set new initiatives for the next 90 days. This process keeps your team motivated and engaged while allowing for course corrections based on ongoing evaluations.

Introducing Strategic Planning with EASE™

If you need assistance in developing and executing your company’s annual plan, consider our Strategic Planning with EASE™ program. This 12-month program includes in-depth discovery, onsite annual strategic planning, quarterly OKR reviews, and regular bi-weekly check-ins. Book a complimentary planning session today and take the first step towards achieving your goals.

Don’t let your strategic plan become a distant wish or a prayer. Embrace strategic execution and accountability to turn your objectives into reality. Follow the recommended process of defining BHAGs, setting inspiring objectives, defining key results, developing quarterly tasks, and conducting regular progress reviews. Consider leveraging the Strategic Planning with EASE™ program to streamline and optimize your strategic planning efforts. Together, we can make it happen.

Linda Ruffenach

Founder / Chief Strategic Officer at Execuity. Linda is an experienced entrepreneur, skilled facilitator, and bourbon badass. Her 20+ years of C-level experience enables her to relate to the challenges business owners face every day. As the former CEO of a $100 million international enterprise, she has been through almost every stage a company can experience from fast growth, rapid decline, to complete transformation. In addition to running multiple businesses, Linda is Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Louisville's School of Business, leading and mentoring undergrad and graduate students on their path to business ownership Linda’s superpower is turning strategy into results.