The topic of strategy came up yesterday at a networking group I attend.
It’s one of those words you either love or hate. I love, love, love it! I know, we’ve already talked about my geek-quotient. 🙂
The question was how many people actually take time to develop a strategy… for their business… or life for that matter? It was a spot-on question. It’s easy to get lost in the chaff of daily living, to miss the strategy sessions either personally or professionally. Actually sometimes it can be too easy to push it aside.
Or to easy to recommend to others and, well…
Over the course of my life… well, I’m pretty
anal organized. At least I like to believe I am. When Stephen Covey came out with the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families, I was in line to buy a copy. Well, Porter put his foot down and so maybe we weren’t a highly effective family. That’s OK, it’s not his thing – good that he has me :). We muddled through.
Back to the question… Both personally and professionally having a plan has always been important to me. It was the only way I could see where I wanted to be, and frankly to get there. I never understood the importance of a plan until… I didn’t have one. There was this “floating” phase I endured. Obviously it was an experience I needed to have 🙂 for whatever reason.
“Floating” isn’t bad, but it doesn’t help you achieve your goals… well because you don’t have
any many. For me, I was OK, but not great. I had food on the table and a roof over my head and days that were full. I didn’t really know it then, but the focus was missing.
I think it’s easy to justify strategy for business (IMHO it can be easier to do too), but for me it’s equally important to have a strategy personally. Before I started a small business, it was easy… my personal strategy drove my (personal) business strategy. My personal goals defined my jobs and education and volunteering. What did I, Porter or the guys want to achieve? Make a plan and do it. Where did we want to travel, things the kids might want to/should/must do, where did we want to live? All part of the strategy. It wasn’t very complex and didn’t take much time, it just rolled. There’s a little more to it, some longer term goals, but you get the idea.
On the business side, that was easier. Define where you want to head as an organization… with a mix of some things you know and some risky unknowns. Make some estimates at the numbers and then track. Meet on a regular basis to provide accountability, keep everyone on the same page and most importantly to see what works and what doesn’t and change as needed. Then move myself on the “bus” as it meets my personal strategy. Easy, right? That’s harder to do when it’s your small business or your personal/family strategy. Argh… accountability is so much harder… but so necessary.
As runners, we are strategists. Runs to run, times to meet, fitness levels to reach, etc. It’s one of the pieces of running I love. OK maybe you can just go run a marathon, but I certainly can’t! There are months of planning and training and… well you know.
Here’s the beauty of a plan… it puts your subconscious to work. When you don’t think you’re thinking about it. When you’re thinking and doing something else. It’s there. You’ve defined it. Whatever it is. School, vacation, family, relationships, retirement, running a marathon, paying off a debt, a new position, revenue stream, client, project… you’re working towards it… with each moment of the day.
It takes some looking back, and dreaming forward.
Fall has always been a big
planning strategizing time for me. This year, I pushed it to the right a little bit, because September was packed with WordCamp and the Mighty Niagara.
Time to finish it up.
What’s in your strategy?