The problem or problems with this implementation approach start with the obvious. This approach gives the impression or appearance of management having no intention of actually implementing the strategy. The other possible aspect may be that, by communicating with only one senior-level manager, when the plan fails there is a “fall guy” to lay the blame on and subsequently terminate. We could discuss a number of reasons for that perhaps, desired result.

Taking the approach that the (hidden) plan is not to terminate a certain manager, placing the responsibility on the shoulders of one upper management person either shows tremendous trust in that manager or severe short sightedness in the hierarchal level of the organization.

Here are a few thoughts about possible problems with just one manager:

   There may be issues if the manager misunderstood any aspect of the 5-year plan

   Difficult for one person to track planned changes

   The plan will only be as strong as the single manager

   Employees/staff will have poor and confused understanding of the plan

   Employees/staff will not feel they are part of the plan

To successfully implement a 5-year strategy plan I would include management down to at least the department head or director level. I would follow that meeting with planned meetings where the plan is opened to the staff for their information and, very important feedback. Many in upper management forget that frontline staff often have outstanding ideas. It is important for hierarchal management to assure staff that there will be no pushback from anything they say to management. That has to be absolute. Otherwise, there will be no trust from the staff. It is not always to follow this but managers who do, reap awesome rewards.

When I have been in a management position for staff to talk to me, I have always practiced this approach. I would make “Staff time” at the end of staff meetings and informed staff this was their time to tell me whatever they wanted. The advantage of this is that staff often feed off the comments of other staff members – they remember something else that you need to know about. It is not always easy to have staff speak their mind. I have found though, it has always made me a better manager. Sometimes staff say things that have bite. It is not always easy to take it and not want to pushback but it is so vital to take it. It is rare that staff make these opportunities for personal attacks. Accepting criticism should be learned early in life but seems always difficult to do.

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