What is a Strategy and why is it important?
I was once in a corporate client meeting, where the client had asked me to come in and review a specific strategy with her. As I was walking her through the strategy we had developed, she kept saying that she didn’t see the strategy. We were having such a disconnect that I had to stop and ask her point blank “what does ‘a strategy’ mean to you?” To which she replied, “Have you filled out our template?” I hadn’t filled out her template, as I had never seen her template, but that didn’t mean that we weren’t reviewing a strategy. The joys of working in large corporations! Ha! Ha!
So, let’s review what a strategy is up front. My definition of a strategy is a series of deliberate steps or actions to achieve a desired outcome. It is being purposeful with how we intend to move forward and what we intend to work on to achieve an outcome that we have stated that we desire.
How to create a Strategic Plan
It is important for us to all periodically take time to evaluate where we want to go in the future, how we intend to get there, and how things are going along the way. Are we on course or do we need to course correct? If the actions we are taking aren’t getting us closer to our goals, we may need to choose different actions. But if our actions are working and we are seeing progress, then we want to continue on our path.
Step #1: Review your Purpose, Vision, Mission, and Values.
If you don’t already have these written down, take a few minutes to create them and get them on paper. If you do already have them written down, pull them out and dust them off and take a fresh look at it.
Think about this exercise holistically across all areas of your life and business. It should get to the essence of who you are and what makes you tick. As whole beings, where our businesses are just one part of our lives, it is important to do this exercise as both the individual and for your business.
Step #2: Identify What Is Most Important To You.
List the top 5 things in your life and business that are the most important to you.
Write down whatever comes to you without judgment. Use this as your framework for completing the rest of the steps below.
Step #3: Establish Your Baseline
Where are you now in each category defined above in Step #2?
In addition to looking at the key metrics in your life, how do you feel about where you are now?
What do you want more of this year and what needs some shaking up? Be specific.
Step #4: Identify What You Most Want This Year
In each category developed in Step #2, list the top 1-3 things you want to be, do, or have in each category for the year.
Create your own definition of success here!
Step #5: Reflect on What You Have Created
Take a moment to reflect on the work you have just done.
How does your plan make you feel? Inspired? Eager? Enthusiastic? Ready to get started?
If you don’t feel these things, then keep working. Go back and refine the pieces that don’t make you feel happy and energized.
Step #6: Create a Visual Aid and Post It!
Summarize your Strategic Plan in a fun and creative way. You could print it up on your computer in a Word or PowerPoint document in fun fonts. You could draw it or paint it or collage it. You can use pictures or images.
Make it something you enjoy looking at. And find a place to post it where you will see it every day over the next year.
Keep your Strategic Plan front and center in your life to reach your goals faster. [Tweet This!]
Step #7: Monitor Your Progress
As noted above, revisit your strategic plan monthly or at a minimum quarterly. Review where you are vs. where you expected to be. Identify what you need to do more of or what you need to change to get to where you want to be. Make any updates you feel make sense to keep you on track.
As promised above, here is the link to the templates to help you create your 2016 Strategic Plan.
If you want more details on how to create your Strategic Plan, download the entire Strategic Planning Guide here.
If you want to go even deeper and learn more about how to create a Strategic Plan for your business, contact me for a complimentary Strategy Session.
If you found blog post to be helpful, leave a comment below and let me know what resonated with you. Also, forward to a friend or colleague who might also find this helpful.
Wishing you a very successful 2016!