Evan Hackel

By Evan Hackel

Create a Strategic Plan to Get to Where You Want to Go

Create a Strategic Plan to Get to Where You Want to Go 150 150 Evan Hackel

by Evan Hackel

A strategic plan is an important tool that can help your organization grow, achieve specific goals on a schedule, and reach its fullest potential. To define the goals and timelines that will be part of your plan, you will need to consult with your management team, appropriate managers and employees, vendors, customers, and other stakeholders too. Also remember that a strategic plan should be grounded in your company’s vision and mission statements, which reflect your values, higher goals, and aspirations.

How far ahead should you be planning? Five years into the future is normally ideal. Your goals should be challenging and stretch you, while also being concrete and understandable. Goals that lie 10 or 20 years into the future become so esoteric that people cannot relate to them.

Now, are you really going to use one plan, accomplish everything that is in it, and then meet again in five years to write a new one? No, not really. I recommend creating a five-year plan, then meeting at least once a year to review it and ask some questions like these:

  • Where are we now in executing this plan?
  • Do we still want to pursue all the goals that it sets out, or have other priorities emerged that we should tackle first?
  • What specific tactics do we need to work on in the next year so that we can accomplish our goals?

The status quo changes quickly in business today, and you will need to revise your plan and keep your goals fresh. Yet there is great value in saying to people, “here are our goals for the next five years.” This is especially true when you create specific initiatives, assignments, and tactics that people will address in the year to follow.

Here’s an analogy that illustrates the importance of planning . . .

If you put 22 kids who have never played soccer before on a soccer field and you said to them, “Here’s a soccer ball, have fun playing soccer,” what kind of soccer game would it be? They wouldn’t necessarily know there were two teams. They wouldn’t know the rules or how to keep score. They might eventually start kicking the ball around, but the game of soccer wouldn’t happen. But when you explain the game and that the goal is to put the ball in the net, then people achieve and accomplish something.

The same is true in business. When you’re just doing the same things over again and no one has given you a goal or a plan, no one has told you how to score, you just keep doing the same things over and over again. You don’t know what you should be doing and it’s impossible to achieve any kind of success.

Concluding thoughts . . .

As the Roman philosopher Seneca once wrote, “If a sailor does not know to which port he is sailing, no wind is favorable.” Another way of saying that is that to get to the right place, you have to know what you and your organization want to achieve. That means defining your mission, vision, and goals.

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