• Chris Anibarro

The Work Plan Fallacy: Why It's So Hard to Execute Your Strategy

Updated: Jul 24, 2019


We talked about the need to narrow your focus down to no more than 3 goals.

New Question: Do your goals sound like this?

  • We will double our revenue in the coming year

  • We will massively improve employee engagement

  • We will drastically decrease our incident rates

  • We will grow the number of people we serve by 10x in the next year


Okay, if so, how many of you are using tools that look like this to track your goals?


Heads up: You might be using the WRONG TOOL.

It’s not your fault. Pick up almost any book on strategy or even Google search “Strategy Execution.” The most shared tool for operationalizing your strategy is a work plan template.

The work plan is great for a goal with a clear and known outcome. IF you are expanding FTE, implementing an IT system or planning an annual event, then a work plan can be useful because the outcome is clear. However, if the pathway to the outcome is unclear, then a work plan is NOT going to help you.

Instead, you need a way to TEST your progress (vs “reporting your progress” through a work plan), to determine what will move the needle and what won’t. AND you need a way to actively engage your teams in weekly actions that connect to the long term goals.

The 4 Keys of Strategy Execution is the way to do both. Key #2, Manage the Lead, gets teams focused on a Lead Measure that connects to the larger goal. This frees a team up to experiment with weekly actions to move the lead measure. Doing this has two effects:

  1. Connects the team’s weekly activity to long range goals

  2. Allows the team to see what actions are making a difference and what actions are not


Take the 4 Keys online course or subscribe to our blog. Or don’t. . . but please ditch the Work Plan fallacy and start thinking about how to apply Key 1 and Key 2 to your goals. YOU deserve breakthrough results. .