Last week I was coaching a business owner who was so clearly exhausted and frustrated with his businesses performance that you could hear it in his voice. He clearly has some choices: keep trudging along on the same path like Eeyore singing the same “woe is me” tune or step back from his business, regroup and create a new plan.
One of my favorite chapters in Thoughtfully Ruthless is the SHUSH! chapter where Val Wright talks about creating silence and space to think and create. If you are like most CEO's and leaders whom I work with in my Private Growth Retreats, your strategic plans are in one of three places: in your head, on a shelf, or they don’t exist. Your plans may be in your head buried among everything else on your mind. Others create an elaborate strategic plan, publish it professionally and place it on a shelf, never to be referred to again. Still other leaders never create a strategic plan, simply setting goals based on what they think they can achieve based on prior performance. These are all huge mistakes. Sure, you will likely make progress and grow, but think of the potential with a well thought out, documented, and communicated plan.
Here are my keys to creating a successful strategic plan:
Simple. As Steve Jobs said, “Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
Short. Your strategy should be able to fit on one page. That means on an 8 ½ by 11 piece of paper in a readable font.
Share. Communicate your strategy to your team in an inspiring way.
Adjust. Business and the world are changing at a break-neck pace. Gone are the days of a fixed five-year plan. For your strategy to work, you must continually adjust for changing market conditions, new technology, new threats, and evaluate whether you have the right team.
I call this the Schwab Success Strategy.
How well defined are your strategic plans for the next 6 months? Do they need tweaking? What conditions have changed since you created your plan?