As we enter the fall months it’s time to start creating your plan to close this year strong and start the new year with focus and energy. I’m asked to facilitate strategic planning sessions for organizations all over the country so I thought to help you get a jump start on your own planning, I’d take you through a simple exercise that can provide you the framework to get your plan out of your head, onto a page, and most importantly into action.
I believe there is a lot of misinformation out there around what strategic planning is so let’s clarify.
Almost all planning and strategy helps answer the following four simple questions.
- Where am I now?
Every plan needs a starting point, and this is about as basic as it gets. Think about where you are currently in your business. Maybe it’s total revenue, expenses, gross profit, total team members, current offerings or services, anything that you feel is relevant. For personal it may be total savings or debt, health and fitness objectives, living arrangements, a trip you would like to take. Whatever your goals or objectives decide where you are in the process and use that as the starting point.
- Where do I want to be in (fill in the blank) months or years?
This is an important step in the process because it allows you to think about the end game for your goals and outcomes. When do you want to celebrate your achievements. We need deadlines in order to process the amount of information it’s going to take to achieve our goals, so setting a timeline as to what you plan to accomplish and by when is a great next step. Take any of your goals and objective and place a date on the outcome. Don’t worry about the how just yet that comes next.
- What will it take to get me there?
This is where you plan starts to come to life. What are the obstacles you will need to overcome in order to achieve your end goals. What are your strategies to attack these obstacles head on? Do you need more resources- whether it’s people or non-people? Do we have the skillset or knowledge needed to achieve the goals? What will we need to sacrifice in order to achieve this goal? Are we prepared for the consequences and willing to accept them as part of the process. This is where you really get to place your time and effort and create the planning and strategy that will allow you to achieve any outcomes you desire.
- How do I measure success?
What gets measured actually gets done, so how are we going to measure the success of our plan. What are the compass points, exit ramps, and check ins that we are going to schedule ahead of time so we can measure how are plan is going. These check points are also great times to make course corrections, re-visit the goals and decide if they are still relevant and important to us, uncover any new benefits or consequences that we hadn’t anticipated earlier. And mostly keep our plan front and center. Constantly measuring where we are in the process allows us to keep the momentum building long after the planning session has completed and is a crucial step along the journey of success.
So that’s it. Simple right? Just like a Quarter Turn should be. Strategic planning doesn’t need to be difficult or intimidating and is something high performers do consistently both in business and in life. Using this simple framework and answering these four basic questions will get you started down the path of creating a successful strategy that can take you anywhere you choose to go.
Cheers to you and your Strategic Planning
One Quarter Turn at a Time
Thoughts for the week:
It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan. -Eleanor Roosevelt
Failing to plan is planning to fail – Alan Lakien
Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the arc. -Richard Cushing
Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning. -Thomas Edison
Looking forward to our next connection