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Why a Strategic Plan is Critical

Do you know the difference between a personal resolution and a personal goal? The entire difference can be summed up with one word: strategy.

We all know why New Year’s Resolutions tend to fall apart quickly. They fail because they are “I want” or “I need” statements that stand alone. The resolution itself may be very clear - losing weight or saving money - but there is no strategy to achieve it. It is just a statement.

By contrast, a goal is the endpoint of a strategic plan. If the strategy works, you will achieve or exceed your goal. If you do not achieve the goal, you will most likely know why. You can review your strategy and identify steps that you did not complete or maybe that were unrealistic. In either case, you will have data to guide your next goal or continued progress toward the one not yet achieved. 

As a business owner, are you setting resolutions or goals? If you know what you want to achieve, but you haven’t created a strategic plan, then you only have a resolution. To set goals, you will need to create a strategic plan that incorporates the input of your leadership team. With initial and ongoing collaboration, you and your team can follow a well-defined process that significantly improves the likelihood of not only identifying the "right" goal for your company but of achieving and exceeding your corporate goals. And the reality for most businesses is that if they aren't innovating, they won't grow and likely won't survive for long. 

A Team Approach to Strategic Planning

I work with many company owners, presidents, and CEOs who initially believe that goal-setting and strategic planning need to be done entirely by them. They believe that their team is relying on them to put it all together and present it as a finished product. Alternatively, they may be hesitant to use a collaborative approach because they believe it’s inefficient. One of my jobs is to show them the benefits of using the collective knowledge and critical thinking skills of their team to grow the company strategically.

The business owner or founder has a single perspective about the business. Obviously, that perspective has gotten the business this far successfully. Now it is time to decide whether to sustain the status quo or to grow. The choice to grow means involving other qualified people. These people will have different perspectives and ideas. They will present questions that the owner has never considered. They will pose future possibilities that the founder would not have thought of on their own.

Most owners have already put their trust in others over the course of company growth. They incrementally hire managers and directors to run various departments so that they can focus on the big picture. That trust must follow through to the planning process as well. Department leaders are experts of the areas and people they manage. Therefore, they each have their own ideas about departmental and company goals, as well as viable strategies to reach them.

My workshops are designed to bring these leaders together so that we can put all the different goals, perspectives, and ideas on the table, sort through them, evaluate capabilities and conflicts, and identify the strongest options. Then the real work of strategic planning can begin.

Know the Goal, Know the Role

No matter the size of a company, everyone must understand the company goals and their specific role in the strategic plan to reach those goals. There is no such thing as being too small to have a plan. Whether a company has a single manager and a handful of employees, or it is operating with multiple layers of managers and staff, effective strategic planning is what points everyone in the same direction for the benefit of the organization.

The concept of team-driven strategic planning may seem overwhelming and chaotic to business owners who have been accustomed to planning in a silo, or when facilitating themselves, run the risk of filtered input. When done with a professional with organized and proven tactics, however, a collaborative approach to planning is highly effective for reaching bigger goals in less time.

In the workshop setting, leaders bring their own departmental strengths, challenges, needs, and ideas to the table. As all the leaders work together to develop innovative goals and solutions, they will each highlight their department’s unique abilities to support the strategy. When correctly implemented, every employee will know how they directly contribute to the corporate plan. This brings the organization into alignment at every level, with everyone taking ownership of their role at every step of the process. The end result is an empowered and invested team all working strategically towards a unified goal.

Start Your Strategic Planning Process with Professional Support

Making the transition from owner-generated strategic planning to collaborative planning can be awkward without a clear roadmap. To avoid power struggles, filtered input, and bruised egos, you must initiate your strategic planning workshop with organized guidelines and managed expectations.

I work with growing companies to make this transition a smooth one. My strategic planning workshops are designed to optimize creativity and alignment while following clearly defined intentions.

Are you ready to set bigger goals than you thought possible, with effective plans to reach them? Schedule your discovery call with me today.

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