Do you really need a strategy to achieve your goals? I’ve pondered this question throughout my career as I struggled to manage my own drive for achievement. Being a bit of a Type-A perfectionist, my default answer was always a solid “of course!” Over the years, I’ve mellowed and even explored just “going with the flow” and releasing the need for a structured plan. But here’s the truth: if you want to get better at anything in life – sports, relationships, cooking, languages, health, business, your career, etc. – you must put in the time. And the way you spend that time makes all the difference in how much better you get.
So yes, you do need a strategy. Each strategy begins with a specific intention. Each strategy differs in its level of complexity, tactics, and timeline. I’ve developed strategies I call “Freedom Plans” to help folks free themselves from careers and businesses that no longer serve them and transition into exciting fresh opportunities. Other strategies help leaders inspire and empower their teams to new heights. And of course there’s the “Money Plan” that helps companies meet/exceed revenue goals. The latest strategy for myself is a “Happiness Plan” which involves investing in riding lessons from a jumper trainer on her school horse (even though I have my own horses). I’m having a blast and when I’m happy, my business is happy. Here are five specific reasons to build a strategy:
- You get clear and intentional on why you’re doing what you’re doing. We can all get caught up in the hubbub of life and do things because we’ve always done them. In building a strategy, you stop to reflect on why you’re doing what you’re doing. This gives you an opportunity to make decisions about what to pursue, what not to pursue, and how to move forward.
- Clarity gives confidence. When you map out a plan to your goal, you begin to see your goal manifested. As you see how your goal can be achieved through little steps over time, you gain confidence in your ability to get there.
- Structure gives focus and confidence. A good strategy includes specific tactics, actions you take on a regular basis to advance your goals. Some days you may not feel like doing anything. A solid yet flexible structure will help keep you motivated, focused, and accountable.
- Others know their roles. A good strategy unites the team around a common vision and helps each member understand his/her unique contribution and responsibility.
- Others can help you. When you are clear on your intention and goal, you open the door for others to support you. Vendors, partners, organizations, new staff, coaches, trainers, and others can offer new insights, solutions, and connections.
Be sure to build a strategy consistent with your personality and values. If a structured plan makes you feel squeezed and a bit claustrophobic, build an open plan with lots of flexibility. Also be sure to adjust your plan as new possibilities emerge. Strategic planning is a powerful tool for success, if you do it right. Give me a call for a complimentary conversation. I’ve conducted hundreds of sessions and as a strategist, it’s one of my favorite things to do. Happy planning!