July 2022 – Every company aspires to be successful and grow beyond the “startup” phase. To make this vision a reality, multiple steps are taken to ensure the best results. While some can make do by “winging it”, most big players in the business sector got to where they are through careful strategic planning.
What exactly is strategic planning though? Simply put, it sets key objectives, analyzes internal and external factors, evaluates possible courses of action, and executes with as little room for error as possible. The great thing about it is that it works on both an organizational level, and an individual level. For it to work in larger scopes, it is a must that each member understands the concept so that they can grow individually.
Now that we know what strategic planning is, it’s time for us to learn what to do and not to do to make the most out of our efforts.
Make Your Plans Visible
Leaders need to ensure that plans are seen and understood by their peers for them to work. This goes beyond informing people involved in your plan, but also means informing certain individuals who are outside your strategy’s scope. This ensures that not only are you all on the same page but that everyone is also held accountable through transparency. It is also through this method that you can receive feedback and expand your strategic planning beyond your abilities through the input of others.
Communicate With Others
As mentioned earlier, feedback and the input of other people is important. Your own two eyes can only see so much, or in this case, see so little. Communicating with your team willingly and synching up ideas can lead to much more creative programs. Fresh eyes can also catch weaknesses and strengths that you may have failed to identify. As they say, “teamwork makes the dream work”, and this is definitely not an exception.
Set Smaller Goals
Although it is tempting to fill your whiteboard full of large goals and wins you wish to achieve, there is merit in setting up smaller objectives along the way. Small wins are worth celebrating and are good for morale. Not only that, setting up smaller milestones that accumulate as you move along your strategy creates stepping stones and checkpoints for your much bigger, intended development. This minimizes the damage done by things going wrong, and helps you adjust quicker and more effectively
Focusing on Short-Term Goals
One of the most common problems with how people think about progress is that they’re focused too much on tomorrow. While planning about tomorrow is certainly something that doesn’t sound bad, it is in fact, very limiting. Decisions must be made with not just the immediate future in mind, but instead, consider how executing these plans can eventually lead to bigger opportunities. Seeing what’s in front of you is the first step, but the real step to true success is being able to see beyond that wall, what lies on its sides, and in some cases, what is right behind you.
Getting Stuck On Costs
Plenty of time goes into thinking about costs. By costs, we mean more than just finances. This includes manhours, effort, and stress invested or will be invested into a project. While it is important to detail all of this and forecast your outgoing resources, we must ensure that we are always fundamentally aware of a key point. Planning for your cost is not the same as planning for your revenue. You can plan what you choose to spend, but it is up to your customers as to how much return you are to receive. A leader must therefore think with as much effort as possible to ensure that there is a good return on their investment. It is not enough that we say we’ll spend a certain amount of hours on something. We must also make sure that the action itself generates proper returns.
Experiencing Tunnel Vision
Having a great strategy at the ready is wise. This means that you went into the proper research, preparation, planning, and so much more to ensure that you’ll get the best results. However, we need to make sure that we don’t focus too much on what we’ve strategized despite all the effort we’ve put into it. Great leaders recognize that change is inevitable and the landscape continuously evolves without us doing anything. This means that we must be able to bend long-term plans as new developments arise while maintaining the same key objectives.
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