You’ve written your plan and are now in full implementation mode, but don’t forget to track and measure your progress. This part of the process can often get lost in the shuffle with all of the DEI activities you’re implementing, but it’s one you shouldn’t forgo.
If you’ve followed our series on How to Create Your DEI Plan Series, including how to prepare for and write your plan, your DEI journey is in full swing. You’ve come quite a long way, but don’t forget to measure and track your progress for accountability. Follow these 3 steps to keep up the momentum and celebrate your accomplishments along the way.
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
- Peter Drucker
Step 1: Determine Your Tracking Cadence
Before you get into full implementation mode, it’s a good idea to determine when you’ll track and report on your progress. Continuous monitoring is key to any successful strategic plan as there will be ups, downs, and pivots throughout the implementation.
Identify who will be responsible for tracking and set a schedule for when you’ll report results regularly to leadership, internally, and to stakeholders. Reporting on a monthly or quarterly basis is a good place to start but remember to be flexible. You may need to meet more frequently when hot buttons arise or to push through a more difficult phase of the plan.
Step 2: Find Your Tracking Tool
Now it’s time to determine how you’ll track your metrics. Project tracking can be done with a spreadsheet (see a sample), but as your strategies and action items get more complex, this method can become overwhelming. Investing in a strategic plan tracking system will help to keep you on track without spending too much time entering data or interpreting results for those outside of your workgroup.
Most tracking software includes a dashboard, task management, charts, and dependency features so you can quickly see where you are with one click. You’ll easily be able to print out reports, see where resources are needed, and track tasks and responsibilities. Here’s a list of a few popular strategic planning applications that can help you stay on track.
Step 3: Review On Purpose
Tracking and holding review sessions with your workgroup and leadership shouldn’t just be to see what’s been accomplished. This is also a good time to improve on purpose.
How do you improve on purpose? Conduct honest, open, and fresh reviews of your goals, strategies, and timeframes to ensure they’re still aligned with where you are at that time. Engage stakeholders and your workgroup during review sessions by asking probing questions:
Does this strategy still work?
How could we do this more effectively?
Who needs to be involved who hasn’t been included?
What’s happening in our environment now and how does this affect our activities?
As the world and social attitudes change, your organization may need to shift to meet the moment. A good environmental scan will help to realign or identify areas that are ripe for change. In addition, listen to those outside of leadership and your workgroup through interviews and anonymous communications methods to help you stay abreast of sensitive issues that may have a significant bearing on strategy.
Nearing the End … But Always Assessing
Along with the DEI planning process, remember that reviewing and measuring where you are is a continuous process. Your DEI journey should never be one and done. Every organization and its stakeholders will continue to change; so should your plan. Prepare, plan, track, report, and then follow the process over and over again to ensure continued success.
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Dwan Jones is the founder of Strategic Like a Boss, a strategy consultancy, and a contributor to the Nelson Connects blog and more. Connect with her about DEI, strategic planning, and multicultural communications on LinkedIn.