This week, Joe and I are doing our strategic planning in beautiful Palm Beach Shores, FL. We work in the morning and then “play” in the afternoon, soaking up the sun (although I hear a cold front is moving in…..drat!).
In December, in preparation for this meeting, we review 2014 metrics and trend data about our services and products. We collect readily available information about our world (in strategic planning lingo, we call this an “environmental scan”) that provides insight to:
- Our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats
- Organizational Culture
- Customer/User Socio-Demographics
- Customer/User Wants/Needs
- Product/Services Lifecycle
- Economic Climate
- Social Impact
- Political Climate
- Technology Implications
- Competitive Analysis
- Financial Analysis
- Other issues important to our future.
We also make a concerted effort to reach out to our valued customers and teammates – asking for their opinions on how we can improve the business.
Then, we spend a few hours talking about these trends, our strengths and opportunities (which we will leverage) and our weaknesses and threats/limitations (which we need to mitigate).
We use this as a springboard for a discussion about the critical issues we are facing. Typically there are 4-5 big issues that we need to deal with (which may or may not become our strategic initiatives).
We then discuss our future – usually 3-5 years out. For us, we discuss this on both the business and personal level (as entrepreneurs, the two worlds often collide or blend in with each other, so it makes sense to discuss this holistically). We try to think about this from all points of view: not just financial, but other desired results, process, relationships as well as our health and lifestyle.
From this “vision” of the future, we identify 3-5 strategic initiatives that will significantly propel us toward our vision.
Each of those strategic initiatives have a few implementing strategies along with a desired state (and metric) in that 3-5 year time period.
We figure out what kind of resources and capabilities we are going to need to achieve that desired state and put together a plan to get there. Those critical milestones then go into our calendar – and each week we aim to make some kind of progress on each initiative.
All of this then goes into our One Page Plan which I carry with me in my datebook. Every week, I determine what steps I am going to take and where I am going to put it in my schedule.
As a method of accountability, I enter in my accomplishments on IDoneThis.com at the end of each day (which can be sent to your team members as well – but I just keep it between me and Joe). We also check in with each other every Monday morning and at the beginning of each month. This way, we know that we are taking steps closer to the goal!
(photo credit: www.autismtraining.com.au )