The Plan

The past month has moved very quickly for a lot of people as things seem to be moving faster and faster every year. Do you ever get the impression that things are moving too fast for comfort in your professional and business lives? How are you dealing with that? Do you have a plan?

Strategic planning is something that every business, organization and even individuals should do every three years to make sure that your professional and life goals are in order. A plan is very much like a compass that provides you with a direction to follow. If you do not have a plan, then how are you going to get where you are going. The Chief Commissioner for Scouts Canada said at a session last year that stuck in my mind, namely “ if we don’t change direction, we’ll end up where we are going?” Think about that for a bit. How often have you seen businesses, organizations or individuals following a path that you know will take them to a place that is not the best for them or everyone else?

When you set goals, use the SMART method, i.e. Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely. Try to focus on a maximum of three goals, three objectives for each goal and three action items for each objective. That will give you 27 action items to address during the planning period. Three goals will keep you focused so that you can do a few things rather well rather than doing a mediocre job of trying to do too much. I once heard that anyone who has more than 3 goals has no goals at all.

Can you do this with your personal life? Yes you can. Sit down one day and set three goals for the next three years. Your goals could be something like:

  1. Financial sustainability
  2. Work/ life balance
  3. Personal health and happiness

Then you have to develop objectives for each of these. An example of an objective for each might be:

  1. To pay off my debts within 3 years.
  2. To spend more time with my family
  3. To become more fit

The action items for each objective would then describe what you are going to do to reach each objective. This could include things for the objectives above like spending less, eating out less, planning weekends and holidays by setting the dates now, walking a kilometer or more everyday.

For businesses and organizations, I would strongly suggest using a facilitator with strategic planning skills to assist you with developing your plan. If you think you can do it on your own, you will rob someone of the chance to participate 100% in the process. This is a small investment in the future of your business or organization.

And of course, the biggest commitment of all- actually doing it. We all love to procrastinate and think that we will get around to this sooner than later. Sit down with your leadership team and make a commitment to move forward to a brighter future that has direction and targets.