Strategic planning = where good intentions go to die. Think back to your strategic planning session last year. How often do you refer to that document to stay on track this year? Is it currently gathering dust on your shelf or stored untouched in a file?
To succeed in today’s competitive marketplace, your organization must be proactive and aligned for success. Thinking strategically is essential for creating realistic goals that will lead you to the long-term vision you have for your company. BUT, you must also plan a course of action in accordance with your goals and hold yourself accountable for reaching them. Instead of Strategic Planning for 2022, have a Strategic Thinking and Execution Planning session.
With less than six months left in 2021, NOW is the time for a sense of urgency to not only think strategically but to plan for execution and implementation to finish the year strong. With your goals guiding you towards the results you have in mind for your business, identify individuals who will “own” specific actions within a specific timeframe to get you there. Execution plans should answer the question: “Who’s going to do what by when?” Create clear steps that will ultimately lead to reaching your goals.
How to improve your strategic thinking:
Think long-term first and work backwards:
Start the goal-setting process by dreaming about the future. Where do you want to see your business in 10 years? Create a clear vision of what you want to accomplish by 2031, and don’t be afraid to think big. Next, break your 10-year goal down to what you want to accomplish in three years that will get you a quarter of your way to your big future goal. From there, break that 3-year goal down by what you need to accomplish in 2021 to stay on track.
Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, with a defined timeframe):
To properly execute your goals and priorities for the year, be sure they are S.M.A.R.T. Define critical dates and benchmarks each quarter (or even each month) to stay on track. Measure success by creating quarterly revenue, profit, margin, or new customer goals. Identify specific actions and timelines needed to complete your goals.
Write your goals on paper and place them where you can see them every day:
A study by Dominican University in California found that you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams simply by writing them down regularly. The likelihood you’ll transform your desires into reality increases even further if you share your written goals with individuals who believe in your ability to succeed. Work with your team to develop individual and company-wide goals, and be sure to write them down and share them. Review your goals weekly and monthly to ensure that you are on track with your actions.
How to improve your annual plan’s execution:
Define clear priorities:
Are you the type of business owner or executive who says yes to everything? Not everything can be a priority. When you say “yes” and dedicate your time to a task, you are saying “no” to giving your attention to something that may be more important. Work to make the right decisions with your time and focus. Identify three priorities that must be focused on to achieve success each quarter and eliminate all other distractions. Delegate what is less important.
Every person in your business should have a clear 90-day action plan:
Ensure that every team member has a 90-day action plan with clear outcomes they are responsible for. Create clear steps that will ultimately lead to reaching your annual goals and outline key actions, benchmarks and timelines for the upcoming quarter.
Create a culture of accountability:
Your team depends on you (as you depend on your team) to follow through on your 90-day action plan. Accountability ensures follow-through. To create a culture of accountability, consider having weekly or bi-weekly meetings where each person gives an update on their action plan. When a team member gives their update, use green, yellow and red to describe the status:
Green = I am on track
Yellow = I am a little behind and here are the actions I am taking to get caught up
Red = There is no way I am going to hit this date. I need help, and how can I adjust my timeframe?
Measuring progress always helps with accountability. This is not micromanagement, this is good management. Remember that progress is more than just results – it involves the actions you take daily that create the results.
Need an expert facilitator to help you stay on track and steer you in the right direction? Our Certified AddingZEROS Facilitators will not only lead you through thinking long term, but they will ensure you and your team have a clear action plan for implementation.
To book your Strategic Thinking and Execution Planning retreat, contact me today. Hurry, schedules are filling up!