A Strategic Plan for Your Strategic Planning?
By Talmar Anderson
Have you heard the following words but thought it sounded like something lofty that only big or super successful companies do? Company retreats. Quarterly strategy sessions. Meeting with an advisory board. Are these words you hear but think…”Oh I can’t WAIT until I have the luxury to spend a WHOLE day planning!”….errr, bummer. “Bummer?”, you ask. Why am I disappointed for you? Because you have missed the understanding that making this time is a discipline…not luxury. You are missing the concept that without purposefully creating a safe space to sit, think and consider…change cannot come. Certainly not as easily or quickly as if you applied purpose and intention behind it! Strategic planning is the “HOW” to your “What” for goals and vision.
Having said that, strategic planning sessions can be less than useful if you do not have a focused idea of where the meeting needs to go. In a seemingly conflicting idea, the best strategy planning sessions allow for the fluidity of conversation and inspiration to take the lead.
In great strategy sessions you may come up with some brilliant new concept. In that same meeting you and your team may talk it completely out of implementation. And that is OK! If coming out of a strategy session leads to understanding where your business IS NOT going you have created clarity, saved resources and can more easily focus company messaging. That is progress!
Regardless of stage of growth, strategy planning is when we look at our current goals to consider how they are working, what possible changes we could make and which direction to move forward. Often goals are refined or even changed. These can be annual assessments. Quarterly sessions work for some, including Talmar It Up clients. This allows us to piece out concepts and not try to do it all at once. One quarter it may be diversification and possible new incomes strategies. The next quarter it might be shifting independent contractors to employees. The next may be about analyzing and understanding workloads and true profitability. Maybe the forth will be brainstorming on strategic partnerships for the next year. All those sessions would support an annual goal that includes doubling net income and positioning for a second office within 3 years.
Committing to the time and scheduling these meetings create intent and permission to NOT be working on client needs, sales conversations and other traditional day-to-day profit driving actions. Prioritizing a client need of an earlier delivery deadline is actually hurting you company. You can easily set a reasonable client expectation that can be calendared around your strategy sessions. It is up to you to prioritize this company need of space and focus. In the end you will serve this client and all of your clients much better!
Strategic planning is where you get to STOP letting your business control your days, stress level and time sucks. You get to schedule a chunk (I use a minimum of 3 hours with my clients) that brings together controlled surroundings, brains and an agenda.
If you are using strategic planning, make sure you are getting the most out of it! Try these Talmar It Up requirements:
- An agenda…it can be as simple as a concept but KNOW what you want to be focused upon. If you have a long list then prioritize what needs to be completed first. Do not move on until fully considered. Some sessions will only address one topic. This is the meeting where you do NOT speed through the agenda.
- Other brains. This could include your staff, a mentor, a coach or a full group of experts that act as you advisory board. The benefit of having different experiences and perspectives is priceless. Sincerely.
- A set timeframe. You can talk circles around any topic. To be productive, a time limit will create an ending and thus decisions!
- Documentation – At Talmar It Up, we record the audio AND create written action plans for all of our strategy sessions. This creates a resource to help re-focus or clarify in times of stress.
And the number one MUST do for successful strategy planning sessions…
- Follow up and implementation. One person needs to be in charge of creating movement for the company on these strategic plans. I am looking at you! CEO/ Founder / Head Everything. This is the job description.
Strategic planning is the discipline and commitment that allows you the opportunity to create a business and life that includes luxury! ***mic drop***
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