Jeffrey A. Rogers Executive Business Coaching – What Is Your Strategic Plan?
To simplify, a Simple Strategic Plan is YOUR roadmap for success. The question is: Are you using a GPS or are you driving the back roads? A thoughtful Strategic Plan ensures your direction, and running a business without one leads to unnecessary struggle. So what is your strategic plan for this year ? Here are a few thoughts for a simple Strategic Plan. Start with:
- A clearly defined “Vision” for the company
- Specific and measurable goals for your company
- An assessment of current conditions vs. desired outcomes
- A specific plan to close the gap of the way things are to the way things should be
Here are some sample questions to ask yourself (and your team) as you put together the ideas of what you include in your Vision Statement:
- Why did you start (or buy or inherit) your company?
- What makes your company so great?
- How are you different from your competitors?
- Why should people want to work at your company?
- Why should your customers buy from you instead of your competitor?
- What are the guiding principles that will keep you in line with own uniqueness?
- Any other questions you think are important in defining who your company is, why it exists, and what your company is going to accomplish.
ACTION STEP: Please create your company Vision Statement.
Now that we understand the importance of having a Simple Strategic Plan, what’s next? The Strategic Plan allows you focus working “on” your business, rather than working “in” it. Unfortunately, most business owners and managers merely work in their businesses.
Setting Specific and Measurable Goals for your Company is really where the rubber meets the road. Perhaps you’ve heard the old saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know how to get there?” The answer, of course, is that you can’t know! By setting specific goals, you can plot your course. A goal , is a statement of your desired result. It specifically states what you plan to accomplish within a given timeframe. The timeframe is the KEY! What are the important goals your company needs to reach? As you answer that question, please be sure your goals are:
- (1) Valuable (meaningful to your company)
- (2) Attainable (not easy to hit, but not impossible either)
- (3) Measureable (in other words, specific and quantifiable by some means)
- (4) Committed to memory (don’t overdo it; limit your major goals to only a few things so everyone remembers what they’re supposed to achieve)
- (5) So important to you that you actually have a “burning desire” to accomplish them (because passion is everything)
- (6) Have a specific end-date attached to them (because without a deadline, there is no sense of urgency to fuel the fire)
ACTION STEP: Identify the most important goals your company should be focusing on. Now prioritize them. Often, many goals are related to each other in some way.
Are there gaps in your goals? An Assessment of Current Conditions vs. Desired Outcomes is necessary to best understand the real situation. Determine the gaps between where you are and where you want to be moving forward. Before you can determine which strategies and tactics you will implement to move your company directly toward your goals, you need to know where you are now relative to where you want to be.
Identify all of the possible Strategies (or “ways”) of closing the gaps you have identified. Identify Your Top-Priority Strategies and list them. Now Create a List of Tactics (or “must dos”) for each of top-priority Strategies. Planning is great but now, it’s time to take action!
- Determine specifically what the gaps are between your goal (Desired Outcome) and your Current Conditions.
- Determine all of the overall strategies you could employ to close that gap.
- Identified which of those overall strategies is the highest-priority (to be worked on first).
- Create tactics (or “must-dos”) for each of the top priority strategies.
- Prioritize your tactics (must-dos).
- Assign yourself specific action-steps that you will take within the next seven days.
By using this easy-to-use, practical Simple Strategic Plan concept, you will get the ball moving! You translated your ideas and wishes into a clearly defined Vision. You determined the top major goals for your organization. Identified the “gaps” between where you are now and where you want to be. You created a specific plan to close those gaps by (1) identifying the strategies to close them, (2) prioritizing the strategies, (3) creating tactics for the top-priority strategies, (4) prioritizing the tactics, and finally, (5) determining specifically which tactics you will work on in the next seven days by assigning yourself specific action steps to be taken within the next week. Not bad for a morning at the office! Good luck this 2015 and all the best!