You’ve written a stellar business plan. Your vision is inspiring and your mission is motivating. Your strategies align with your objectives and your action plans are super detailed.

Now it’s time to implement. Will it be a ready, aim, fire scenario… or will it be a confusing fire drill to get the implementation process underway? You have a choice…

Hopefully, you’ve involved your management team in the planning process so they know the score. But has word filtered down to associates who will be doing the work to execute the action plans? This is where a well-designed and executed communication plan comes into play. Getting everyone on the same page and keeping them there is a total management team responsibility, especially that of senior leadership.

A successful business plan implementation requires that line managers and staff have the tools, knowledge, and skills to meet the requirements of the plan. To accomplish this, each leader or manager must ask themselves the question, “Are my people prepared to make this happen?”.

Here are some things to consider…

Assess Skill Levels as employees come with loads of skills, the question is how relevant is that skill set to the plan objectives, and can the individual quickly improve their skills to master a new series of tasks? Written or online assessments can be helpful in this area as well as past performance reviews.

Determining Willingness is a key factor in assessing who should be assigned certain tasks to get the job done and who may need a different kind of coaching to get with the program. This means you’ve got to know your people—what makes them tick, what motivates them, and to what extent have they demonstrated this willingness to a learn-something-new trait in the past. This may require conversation and a demonstration of willingness and initiative on the part of the associate to learn something new or to improve upon a certain skill set.

Use Recognition, Reinforcement, and Reward to help keep employees on task and performing optimally. Even if the accomplishment is a small one, recognition builds confidence and confidence builds readiness to excel. Some people come equipped to gain satisfaction out of completing work on their own. But there is no one we know or have heard of who does not appreciate recognition for a job well done. If it’s an individual, you may want to deliver your message confidentially or you may want to announce the achievement. Checking the means out with the person being honored and the general culture of the work environment should dictate your approach. And that recognition can come with rewards. That recognition could be monetary or personal time off or some other action you believe would be valued by the associate. You might even offer them a choice.

For teams, public recognition is often the way to go. You’ll want to recognize the individual contributions each team member has made to the project but will want to celebrate the team as a whole.

Recognizing even the smallest accomplishment helps build positive momentum individually and for the teams. Ultimately, it is the combination of each individual contribution or team contribution that will win the day.

Breaking down the project into manageable segments keeps projects and tasks from becoming overwhelming. This requires sound project management either by the line manager or a trained project manager. Hitting milestones on time and with quality is the way to win the game. So let associates know when major milestones are achieved on time and ask for their input if the project is falling behind. The answers all lie in the people doing the work.

If the project is complex and bottlenecks occur, you may need to seek some assistance for a root cause analysis. When you get to the real “why”, then getting to a viable solution is highly probable. On the other hand, treating symptoms will only frustrate the process and the team, wasting time, money, and goodwill. Making changes and adjusting your efforts over time is almost inevitable but responding to bottlenecks as they occur is key to keeping the project on pace.

Keep Score Regularly. Let the whole team know how your group is doing. A short stand-up meeting pointing out success and opportunities for improvement coupled with the posting of ongoing progress is important to keep all eyes focused on the prize. You may find yourself having regular one-on-one meetings or calls with your supervision about your team’s progress.

The One Page Business Planning and Performance System helps you prepare for these meetings and helps your supervisor keep track of your team’s progress.

While accomplishing the tasks associated with a business plan’s implementation can be challenging, the most critical aspect of success is people’s readiness. Invest in your associates’ training, keep them appraised of progress and reward them for jobs well done!