It’s Strategic Planning time… Again.
but this time, instead of repeating the usual process, I urge you to think about the entire process a bit differently…
I shared this with my CEO networking group to much agreement and interest.
1) What do you want to be known for?
Perhaps you’ve addressed this in your Vision / Mission statements, but if there were just ONE thing you want your customers to remember you by, what is it? FedEx: Overnight shipping. Business Power Tools: Business-building software templates. You? Maybe you want to rethink yours during this process… What can you be the Uber, Airbnb, or [xxx] of?
2) CEO Speaking
Many other business leaders and consultants are speaking at various industry events in the hopes of promoting their businesses (and becoming rock-star thought-leaders…) What about you? I like knowing that Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia, is also an environmentalist and hangs on cliffs using his own product. What’s a nice person like you doing in a business like yours? Share your motivations (your “why”) beyond money that drive you to do what you do and be the best. (In fact, get your team out there with their ideas too!) (Me?)
3) What Might You STOP Doing
We often think about all the things we want to do, but what about the things we’re doing that we could/should stop doing?!? Perhaps you have a few sacred cows (they make the best hamburgers) you can stop feeding and herding. Imagine the energy now available for higher priorities?!?
Unless you’re using PERT / Gantt charts for seriously tight planning, instead of simply bulletizing what you plan to do, I recommend numbering them by priority. Job responsibilities by priority. Marketing projects by priority. If you and/or your team cannot deliver on everything on your lists, what’s most important and must be done? Afterall, when your plans meet reality, what comes first? What’s next? 80/20… In fact, if you iterate the 80/20 rule 3X toward a list of 100 things to do, your top, #1 thing is more important than the other 99!
- The top 20 things give you 80% of the 100
- The top 4 things give you 80% of the top 20
- The top ~1 thing gives you 80% of the top 4
- 80% x 80% x 80% = 51%
5) Listen to Your People in LOW Places
Who knows better what’s happening with your business than the people who work on the front lines where “the rubber meets the road”? Are you relying too heavily on computer reports, are you listening mostly to the loudest people, are you sure you’re right? “What do you think are the top 3 things we should be doing? What should we stop doing?” Etc. (Remember to thank them publicly for their ideas!)
6) Everyone Gets Rich the SAME Way
I learned this from prominent Silicon Valley attorney, Dennis DeBroeck. He’s seen his share of disputes over the years and if there were one thing that stands out, it’s the simple conflict about how the parties are going to make money. Do your investors want to sell, while you want to keep running your company? Do you and a partner want to buy and fix a building, but one of you wants to flip it while the other wants to lease it? Heated discussions are one thing when they are in favor of the same fundamental outcome, but why build-in a conflict when you can easily consider how each of you will profit in the end?
7) Bonus idea: Choose Your Words Carefully
Think about the words you use when leading your people or selling your products/services. “A word is worth 1,000 pictures.” We often inadvertently insert images and emotions into our conversations and presentations expecting our audience to get the right idea. It doesn’t always work like that. For example, “Don’t think of an elephant.” Voila! We now have an elephant in the room. You’ll see many examples and learn how to give clearer direction in this brief presentation.
I’m all about you succeeding with your business delivering your solution to our world.
Until next time…
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