Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The 60 Minute Strategic Plan That Can Change Your Life in 2014

Strategic Planning Meeeting
Strategic Planning Meeeting (Photo credit: michaelcardus)
by Shari L Strong

"Man, I can't believe the holidays are almost here. I haven't accomplished half of what I wanted to this year. Where did the time go?"

As a success coach, I work with overwhelmed corporate professionals all the time who have over-packed schedules that keep them on a never-ending hamster wheel.

Sure, they're moving, but they're not getting anywhere near where they want to be.

If this rings true for you, it doesn't mean the pattern has to continue into next year. With some strategic planning, you can get off the wheel, and get on the road to achieving your dreams. Following is some insight into how to do it - in about an hour.

Strategic Planning: 5 Tips on How to Achieve Your Goals in 2014

I. Get Clear about What You Want

This is such a simple concept, but it scares the bejeezus out of many. Why? Because many - especially successful executives in the corporate sector - are defined by what they do, not who they are.

So when I ask them to pull out a sheet of paper and write down what it is they want, many can't get really clear on this.

And the reason is, sometimes what you want is not what you're giving all of your energy to. This of course might mean you have to make major life changes - upset the apple cart so to speak.

This, of course, can cause a domino effect. What will my friends think, my spouse, my family; we might have to downsize; what about affording healthcare. See what I mean?

But if you're not really clear about what you want out of life - this one life that we all get - then no amount of "strategic planning" is going to help.

II. Assess Your Routine

What I mean by this is, evaluate what you're currently giving so much energy to and ask yourself, "Is this getting me closer to, or further away, from my goals?"

Many times we keep doing the same thing without stopping to see if it's serving the original purpose it was supposed to serve. Things change, situations changes, goals change, PEOPLE change. So why shouldn't your routine?

III. Involve the right players

Whether it's a business goal or a personal one, having the right team around you can mean the difference between success or failure.

Some possible team mates? A mentor, a success coach, a group either with the same interest/goal; an accountability group; a boss/senior exec - the possibilities are endless.

These will be the person/people you will go to when you hit a roadblack or simply need encouragement when the going gets tough.

It's rare that one "makes it" on their own. We all need support - and making this part of your strategic plan from the beginning exponentially increases your chance of success. Proof? Consider the following ...

  • A survey of Fortune 500 companies showed 96% reporting that mentoring was an important employee development tool. 75% said it was a key factor in their own personal success.
  • 71% of Fortune 500 companies and private companies use mentoring in their organizations.
  • 77% of companies that have a mentoring program indicate that it improved both employee retention and job performance [Source: What Is Workplace Mentoring, The Department of Administrative Services of New Hampshire website].

IV. Embrace Your Failures

These are a key ingredient of success. So when they happen, don't be surprised or deterred. Look for the lesson(s) that you can apply as you move ahead.

V. "See" Your Success

Oprah once had a show where people were talking about their "dream boards." A dream board is simply a visual representation of your hopes, dreams and aspirations. Rarely do we want, for example, more money for money's sake.

No, we want to be able to send our kids to a better school, to spend more time with friends and family, to be able to care for ailing parents, etc.

So whatever you goal is, manifest this visually by creating a dream board - this way you can SEE why you're working so hard - and sometimes that's all the push you need to keep going.

FYI, this strategic plan should only take you about an hour or two at the most to complete - and it's one of the best investments of your time you can make as we head into 2014.

Need help? I'm here; just get in touch.

About the Author

Shari Strong is a corporate success coach and leadership development expert. Her program, Success in 4D! Define it, Decide It, Design It, Do, It!(TM), helps corporate professionals become more effective leaders by clarifying how to devise effective strategic plans, and a host of other leadership strategies.

To contact Shari and/or receive a free copy of her first two ebooks, visit

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