Things that you nurture, and support, and give energy and time to WILL grow in your life. And in contrast, things can’t exist if you don’t support them. If you have something in your life that you don’t want there, identify how you are supporting it.
As the year begins it is the perfect time to acknowledge the uncertainty that we are currently experiencing in the business environment, and in our lives. Our most basic assumptions have been challenged, and for many of us there is an overwhelming desire to sit tight.
While a lot seems to be on hold, now is the perfect time to move forward. If you are not sure where to begin, think about a strategic thinking and planning process. While planning right now might seem like the last thing on your mind, strategic thinking is a very comfortable way to help you gain momentum to take positive action.
The Big Picture
With a structured process to fall back on, you will be able to quickly build a realistic picture of your situation in the current environment, and identify changes that are necessary to strengthen and your business. Now is a great time to take a fresh look at things, and think about the ways you want to grow in the year ahead.
Snapshot in Time
Each morning I get out early and walk. The light is terrific as the sun rises and I have gotten into the habit of taking my camera along. The details that are revealed in the pictures often surprise me. We all are gazing right now, but how much are we missing? Strategic planning is about the future, but it starts with a picture of what it really looks like today.
If you zoom in and focus on the environment, the conditions in your business, and on your differentiating factors; as you develop the picture, an image will form that can provide new insight to creating effective strategies for the coming year.
Zoom In and Out
There are many dynamics, both internal and external that affect success. There are also many tools, methods and practices to help assess those dynamics. Some of the basic areas to look at are trends, competition, customer segments, structure and function, and internal strengths and limitations. People are the most important resource in any business. Before you head in a new direction, remind yourself of the skills, abilities, knowledge, expertise, natural tendencies, and values that set you apart.
Clients, employees and business partners can provide useful information about your business from their viewpoint. Some of the methods to gather this information include focus groups, surveys, assessments, and customer service reports. As a starting point, simply ask the following two questions- Are we easy to do business with? What are the things we do best?
As your begin to map a plan for the future, if you design strategies based on strengths, the goals will be easier and more enjoyable. There is always opportunity to grow and develop. Build on what comes naturally. Personal assessments are one way to increase understanding, personal effectiveness, and satisfaction.
The successful result of a strategic thinking and planning process is a clear and motivating vision that builds on strengths, and meets the needs of your employees, customers, and business partners. You will have created prioritized, actionable goals and realistic expectations. All in all, a lot better than sitting around!
MAKE THE NEW YEAR YOUR BEST YEAR YET!
Recommended Books on Strategic Thinking and Planning:
- 10 Steps to Successful Strategic Planning
- Strategic Thinking: A Four Piece Puzzle
- Strategic Thinking: A Nine Step Approach to Strategy and Leadership for Managers and Marketers
- Essential Managers: Strategic Thinking
- Ahead of the Curve: A Guide to Applied Strategic Thinking
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