June 10, 2009

Setting Up Your Strategic Plan

Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities or make the money that you want without becoming very good at it.
Brian Tracy

Yesterday, I mentioned the dreaded business plan that takes months to develop which includes grand ideas that no one refers to once the planning meetings end. Been there? Yeah, me too.

Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody can get there unless everybody gets there.
Virginia Burden

Today, we talk about how to set up your strategic plan. The most difficult part of this process is buy-in from all involved. Once that happens, the rest is easier than drinking a glass of water.

A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of themself and their contribution to praise the skills of the others.
Norman Shidle

Have you ever felt yourself shut down in a meeting simply because you didn’t feel your ideas were being heard? Did you ever walk out of a meeting wondering why others hadn’t contributed? Are those two things related? Are they not simply the opposite sides of the same meeting?

No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.
H.E. Luccock

I often talk about how you can find your competitive advantage or unique selling proposition. Most think it’s about building a better widget or delivering your service faster than the other guy. Neither have anything to do with it.

Many hands make light work.
John Heywood

Have you ever had the privilege of launching something? If so, do you remember how it felt to be part of the co-creation? Did you notice that ideas were freely shared and everyone was involved? That is the starting point of a great plan.

Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.
Vince Lombardi

I was in a meeting yesterday and mentioned my days of 50-page business plans and the person thought that was my preference. My preference is a plan that works – no matter what length it is. That’s the point. In fact, the shorter the better.

Here are 13 things you need to build a proper strategic business plan.

1. Open and honest dialogue with everyone involved. It may include people outside of your organization.
2. Titles are irrelevant.
3. Appoint one person as leader – not the highest ranking official!
4. Keep each meeting to no longer than 45 minutes.
5. End each meeting with the phrase “Who does what by when?”
6. Begin every follow-up meeting with a list of completed tasks.
7. Make your plan simple, executable, realistic and flexible.
8. Disregard your competition. They may be doing it wrong.
9. Keep your focus squarely on your customers and potential customers.
10. Use simple language everyone can understand.
11. The final document should be as short as possible. Edit if needed.
12. Choose no more than three objectives for the next year.
13. The entire process should be completed in no more than five meetings.

Good luck. And let me know how I can help!

P.S. If you are the boss, you must afford everyone the chance to be right. This is not about you.

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