With the political battle heating up between Mitt Romney and Barrack Obama, we are privy to endless promises of sweeping change, prosperity for all, and a country that our children will be proud of! Unfortunately, history has repeatedly demonstrated that most political campaign commitments turn into a series of unfilled promises, the result of a misalignment between political strategy and tactics required to deliver them.
In business, as in politics, strategy is the key aspect of success. Without a strategy, efforts and investment are misguided. A similar analogy might be shooting an arrow into the forest in hopes it will hit the trunk of a maple tree. Personally, I sit down once per year with my mentor Dr. Alan Weiss, to set my strategic vision for the coming year. For me, this includes developing my vision for growth both personally and professionally.
Whether you are a business owner or employee, the ability to develop a strategy is imperative to guiding your growth, be it personal or professional. The process can be broken down into six key elements, outlined below in the form of questions. Most important to the process is spending significant time addressing questions #3, #4, and #5, which are the most crucial to determining your future vision and tactics.
- What is your current position or circumstance?
- How did you get to where you are today?
- What is your future vision for your business and personal life?
- How can you get from where you are today to where you want to be in the future?
- What are the potential obstacles or challenges that you might encounter?
- What are the necessary resources or knowledge that you will require to achieve your goals?
You see, strategy is not something limited to a boardroom or retreat. It is a process that can be followed by virtually anyone in any environment to set goals and guide the supporting decisions relative to investment of time and capital. A successful strategy (i.e. one that is actually achieved), results from the action plans (or tactics) that are designed and executed to deliver the strategy.
Lastly, did you notice I never referenced "strategic planning?" The term is somewhat misleading and overused. In essence a strategy is first developed, followed by the creation of plans (i.e. tactics) to deliver the strategy. Planning follows
the development of your strategy.
This week, apply the questions above to an area in which you would like to excel, be it personally or professionally, and map out your own strategy. Over the next few weeks we will discuss a series of actions and examples to help further define and solidify the process to help you become more strategic. Stay tuned