Turning Strategy into Action: A ‘Crawl, Walk, Run’ Approach for Success



The blogpost highlights the crucial relationship between strategy and tactics, emphasizing that a strategy without accompanying tactics is a wasted effort. To bridge this gap, the "crawl, walk, run" approach is introduced as a step-by-step method for translating strategy into action. This approach involves defining clear strategic goals, breaking them down into manageable initiatives, creating a roadmap for implementation, and progressing through crawl, walk, and run phases, with a focus on continuous monitoring, adaptation, and evaluation to ensure long-term success.

By Payal Parikh, VP of Client Services at Heinz Marketing

In my previous blogpost , I talked about the importance of tactics for a successful implementation of strategy. Tactics and strategy should always complement each other. We see our clients being helped by other agencies where they are handed some strategy, be it a positioning statement or a marketing plan or a sales strategy. Typically, when it is not accompanied by an action plan or tactics to activate the strategy, it is a waste of time and money for everyone. The strategy just remains in a pretty power point on a shared folder, even worse, in someone’s email if it is not translated into action.

Let’s take a look at a step-by-step approach for turning strategy into action. At Heinz Marketing we use a  “crawl, walk, run” approach. This involves breaking down your strategic goals and objectives into manageable steps. This approach allows you to start small, learn and adapt as you progress, and eventually achieve your larger strategic goals. Here’s a step-by-step guide to implementing this approach:

Define Your Strategy:

  • Start by clearly defining your overall strategic goals and objectives. What do you want to achieve in the long term? What is the vision for your organization?Identify Key Initiatives:
  • Break down your strategy into key initiatives or projects. These initiatives should align with your long-term goals and should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Predictable Pipeline Workbook

Create a Roadmap for Crawl-Walk-Run

  • Create a high level roadmap and get buy-in from leadership and different parties for better alignment
  • Identify roughly how long it will take you in each phase
  • Identify trigger events for moving from crawl to walk and walk to run phase
  • This can be done using tools like Lucidchart or a simple roadmap on PowerPoint also works. Email me if you would like to see what an example roadmap looks like.

Crawl Phase:

  • In the “crawl” phase, begin with small, manageable steps to kickstart your initiatives. This phase is about building a foundation.
  • Identify low-hanging fruit or quick wins that can be accomplished relatively easily.
  • Develop a detailed timeline and allocate resources for the crawl phase. We call this an action plan – typically done on Excel or by using project management tools like Smartsheet, Monday, Asana, etc.
  • Focus on creating the necessary infrastructure, processes, and systems required for the success of your initiatives.

Walk Phase:

  • The “walk” phase involves expanding and solidifying your initiatives. This phase may require more resources and commitment.
  • Prioritize the most important initiatives based on their potential impact.
  • Develop detailed action plans for each initiative, including roles, responsibilities, and timelines.
  • Begin to gather data and feedback to assess the effectiveness of your initiatives.

Run Phase:

  • The “run” phase is about full-scale implementation and optimization of your initiatives.
  • Deploy all available resources and fine-tune your initiatives based on the data and feedback collected in the previous phases.
  • Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress and make real-time adjustments.
  • Consider scaling successful initiatives and phasing out those that do not align with your long-term goals.

Continuous Monitoring and Adaptation:

  • Throughout the entire process, continue to monitor your progress, gather feedback, and adapt as needed.
  • Regularly review your KPIs and use them to make informed decisions.
  • Be prepared to make course corrections and allocate resources where they are most needed.

Communication and Engagement:

  • Keep your team and stakeholders informed and engaged throughout the process.
  • Communicate the progress, successes, and challenges of your initiatives.
  • Encourage feedback and input from all relevant parties.

Evaluation and Learning:

  • After completing the “run” phase of each initiative, conduct a thorough evaluation.
  • Analyze what worked and what didn’t, and document your findings.
  • Use this knowledge to improve your future initiatives and overall strategy.

Repeat the Cycle:

Once you have successfully executed your initiatives, use the lessons learned to inform your next round of strategic planning.

By following this “crawl, walk, run” approach, you can methodically implement your strategic plan, ensuring that it is realistic, adaptable, and aligned with your long-term goals. Remember that the process is iterative, and ongoing evaluation and adaptation are essential for long-term success.

Email me if you want a free 30 min consultation on how we can help take your marketing strategy and put it in action.