8 STEPS TO CHOOSE YOUR BEST STRATEGY!

A good evening to all my readers :-)

Hope my post finds you well and jolly :-)

 

‘Strategy is not the consequences of planning but rather the opposite, its starting point.’ – Henry Mitzberg

Have you ever wondered why things suddenly did not work out after setting things up in the right place to accomplish a goal?

 

Have you ever felt that you had the perfect edge to achieve your plan but something did not work out the way you wanted?

 

Most of the time this is because even if the situations, places, circumstances and opportunities are in our favour, we do not use the right tools and techniques to ensure our plans and goals manifest into reality. Would you agree with me? Also to be honest, it is not a pleasurable place to be, is it?

This post will provide you deep insight into the core and the most fundamental principle which all the tools and techniques for achieving success come from: STRATEGY!

strategy

The day I learnt that for any achievement in life and in business, there was always a more efficient way to achieve it by using a proven strategy, it really  opened up a new dimension in my life!  Before we examine strategies in more detail, let me give you the gift of one of the most profound success strategies I know. ‘Get around the path walkers.’ If you want to be successful you should model a successful person by having them coach and/or mentor you. :-) They have already achieved what you want to achieve and been through the bumps in the road, the highs and the lows of the process and therefore are in a better position than you to guide you to the most effective strategy to employ, and get you the success you deserve. Is this not want all of us want – to avoid the pitfalls and enjoy a smooth and successful ride?

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At this point, you might ask:

How can I recognize what is the best and most effective strategy to employ?

 

Firstly, we need to understand what a strategy is. It is the process, the system and method employed to achieve our goals. It is how we go about to accomplish our objectives. It is our starting point from which comes our plan of action. It enables decisions to be taken, plans to be judged, resources to be allocated and actions to be prioritised. It is what empowers people to develop action plans that are consistent with the future that is being sought and means they act decisively in the areas where most advantage can be won. This is where one final step is needed – producing our plan! Without it, we will not achieve any results! :-)

Below are the 8 steps that will help you to recognize which strategy will be best for achieving your success and you can visit my website www.thebooksonsuccess.com and download the PDF exercise called ‘Strategy Mastery Worksheet’ for a printer-friendly version. Please complete this exercise both for your business and for your personal life! This tool is a very effective aid in recognizing what ‘marketing strategies’ to add to your business plan and employ in your business.

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STEP 1: Understand the Scope of your goal/plan

 Submarine periscope

To identify and understand the scope of your goal/plan, ask yourself the following questions:

What is my BIG WHY? What is the purpose of my business?

What is my mission statement? What is my business mission statement?

What are my reasons to get up every morning? What reasons do I have for investing my time, energy and money in my business every day?

What message do I want to promote with my marketing campaign?

 

What makes me stand out in my industry?

 

What makes my services and products different from my competition?

In terms of business, not only does your mission statement guide your overall company practices, it also provides you with the guidelines and clarity to choose the best strategy. Before you can dive into the details, you need to envision the scope of your goal/plan: considering the advantages, challenges and purpose of it. 

Remember, PURPOSE and CLARITY are the most important keys to success when identifying the best strategy for achieving your goals/plans!

 

 

STEP 2: Perform your SWOT analysis

swot-analysis

 

Once you have a grasp of the scope of your big goal, run your desired goal through a SWOT analysis. You can visit my website www.thebooksonsuccess.com and download the PDF exercise called ‘SWOT Analysis’ for a printer-friendly version.

 

The outcome will be a high level of clarity on the necessary steps that will be needed to achieve your big goal, as well as the most effective ways of taking those necessary steps. :-)

 

 

STEP 3: Set small goals

small-goals

 

Once you have clarity on your purpose (your why) and have run your big goal through a SWOT analysis, then you can start to set smaller goals to achieve the steps identified that are needed if you are to achieve your big goal. You will now have the benefit of long term vision and short term motivation! This is the step when you start to turn future possibility into realistic probability.

 

 

STEP 4: Set deadlines

deadlines

Deadline is the time commitment by which your task/goal must be achieved. This is a powerful strategic tool we must use to our advantage. When we set a deadline and expect to get our goal accomplished quickly, they usually do! What are the reasons behind this? It usually takes as much time as we allow them to take! You see, we always work best under a self-determined or externally fixed deadline. By consciously choosing to enforce deadlines, they increase our accountability and focus, essentially fast tracking our results and rewards.

What are the benefits of having deadlines?

A deadline enforces a strong sense of urgency and challenges us to perform.

Deadlines represent commitment, this is a black and white choice: you are committed or you are not.

Deadlines enforce accountability and they create a sense of urgency to improve your results.

Your challenge is to meet each deadline set and astound yourself by what you are able to accomplish!

STEP 5: Establish measures of Success

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Plans and goals are useless without clearly understood, quantifiable measures of success.

Understanding how success will be measured is one of the keys to achieving it as if we can’t measure it, we can’t manage it. As part of your strategy, decide what areas you hope to impact, then determine how it will be monitored. Set up your reporting plan early in the process of laying out your strategy. That way, you will be clear on the expectations from the outset.

Establish an implementation calendar, with specific milestones for each step, i.e. monthly or weekly targets. Assign clear accountability for each action, while making sure the needed resources are in place. Ensure that you know what action you need to take to make it happen, measure assiduously and take necessary procedures quickly if milestones are not met.

 

STEP 6: Develop a strategy Map and make it visual

strategy map

 

It is time to put it all together and have a clear and organised plan. I am sure that now you have more clarity on your purpose, weaknesses, strengths, opportunities, threats, long term goals, monthly SMART goals, a TO-DO list based on your short term goals and metrics to measure your success!

Now that you have put it all together and you have found out what is your best strategy to employ to achieve your goal/plan, it is time to create a tool that will help you know where you’re at in a single glance.

 To make it more powerful and successful, you’ll need to create a strategy Map.

 

 

STEP 7: Monitor your performance and results

monitoring performance

 

This is a very vital and important aspect to ensure that your strategy is working and producing results! Obviously, you need to put efforts and time into it, so it is essential that you have clear means to measure your results!

Remember to celebrate the wins along the way, whether big or small. It will help to boost your confidence levels and to drive your motivation to achieve the next elements of your goal/plan:-)

 

 

STEP 8: Review your strategy and Implement it

strategy lifecycle 

This is the most important step to make your strategy the most effective and efficient possible. A good strategy guides your goals/plans and encourages new opportunities for growth.

However, too often strategic thinking boils down to merely validating the current strategy or making go/no go decisions on the course of action. A much better approach is to spend creative time up front to identify several alternatives – the so called ‘what if…’ scenario.

You might ask yourself:

 

What did I learn from analysing the gap between estimated and achieved results?

 

What can be increased, decreased, reversed, separated or bundled together?

 

What would I do if I had to reach the ‘finishing line’ in half the time?

 

What three priority actions will I implement in my life and in my business as a result of my discoveries?

After employing the strategy, analyse the results to verify its efficiency and dedicate time for revision. Get rid of what isn’t working and continue to implement what is.

 

Just remember that crafting a few different but realistic alternatives and evaluating them using clear criteria will yield a true strategic plan that creates a vision for the future, rather than a reflection of the past. Do not keep changing it all the time. Also remember to give enough time for the strategy to prove its worthiness or failure by monitoring its results. :-)

 

Decide on key action steps, accountability measures and timing, but also agree on how to monitor the environment for any unexpected opportunities or necessary changes that might warrant modifications to the plan.

 

What are the benefits of employing the best strategy available?

We all need to have a strategy in place if we want to achieve our success. It will help us to keep focused and stay on track. If we do not have a direction and a scope before we initiate any plan, it will be very difficult to succeed. In business terms, owning a business is not about work, it is about the strategy we employ. This highlights the concept of working smarter and not harder.

do it

To the employment of your most successful strategy:-)!

Viv:-)

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Keys to Manage Stress

Hello to all my readers :-)

Have you ever felt like a mouse running on a tread wheel and getting nowhere?

Have you ever felt angry because you work so many hours and do not have the time to spend with your dear ones?

You can feel assure that you are not alone. According to a mental-health charity in the UK, 1 in 5  British workers said that stress had made them physically sick during their career, and unmanageable pressure had caused 1 in 4 to cry while at work. Prescriptions for antidepressants saw an unprecedented rise during one recent year of economic recession.

To manage any issues, we need to get to understand the stress cycle and the root of the problem.

Stress cycle

Ask yourself:

What has caused you stress?

The answer could be multiple, for example: insecurity – financial or health, a demanding routine, interpersonal conflicts or a traumatic experience.

Sources of stress

Also ask: ‘How has stress affected you?’

Stress Body Mind

Some symptoms could be health disorders, emotional exhaustion, sleep problems, deteriorating relationships or depression.

You also need to remember that stress activates an amazing system in your body, your emergency response system. Hormones are released to increase your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.

So learning how to deal with stress is important to both your physical and mental well-being.

How can we manage stress?

outsourcing stress

Stress in itself is not necessarily harmful. The American Psychological Association has noted: ‘Stress is to the human condition what tension is to the violin string: too little and the music is dull and raspy; too much and the music is shrill or the string snaps. Stress can be the kiss of death or the spice of life. The issue, really, is how to manage it.’

I also came across to a very good quote of stress:

stress is

Here some practical advice to manage stress:

  1. Insecurity

Not one of us has total security.

How can we cope with feelings of insecurity?

Try these suggestions:

* Confide in a trusted family member or friend. Studies show that the support of loved ones consistently confers protection against stress-related disorders.

* Focus on positive scenarios. If you focus on negatives ones, they will drain your emotional reserves. Remember that what you fear may not happen.

  1. Demanding routine

A relentless routine of commuting, working, studying or caring for children or elderly parents can keep stress level high.

Moreover, stopping some of these activities may be out of question.

What can we do to cope?

* Give yourself some downtime, and get adequate rest.

* Set sound priorities and adopt a modest lifestyle. Consider simplifying your life, perhaps by reducing expenses or time spent at work.

‘Making certain lifestyle changes is the best start’ to relieving stress’, says the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US.

Start with eating a well-balanced, healthy diet as well as getting enough sleep and exercise. Also limit caffeine and alcohol intake and don’t use nicotine, cocaine or other street drugs.’ The NIH also suggests taking breaks from work, spending time with family or friends, learning to make things with your hands, hobbies or learning to play a musical instrument. I will also add dancing.

stress management

To your success :-)

Viv :-)

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 6 Rules for Success

A very good evening to all my readers :-)

Hope my post finds you well and dandy :-)

Have you ever experienced feeling exhausted after you put so much effort into pursuing a goal?

Have you ever felt discouraged when you realize that you are still so far from your objectives no matter how strong your desire is to achieve them?

Have you ever asked yourself ‘what are the rules of success of accomplished people?

I personally have experienced all of the above and I can guarantee you that these are not pleasant feelings, they cause a lot of frustration and they can bring you to breaking point.

In my quest to find an answer to the question of obtaining success, I came across Arnold Schwarzenegger’ speech for Harvard University. Even though I am personally more familiar with the thinking of Rocky and Mohammed Ali; I have to be honest and say that when I listened to Schwarzenegger’s rules of success, they really resonated with me so I decided to share them with you. :-)

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Here is a transcription of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s speech:

‘And, of course, people ask me all the time; they say to me, ‘What is the secret of success?

Before I start, I just want to say that these are my rules and I think that they can be applied to everyone but that is for you to decide, because not everyone is the same. Some people like to kick back, cruise through life, others want to be very intense, they want to be always number one and be successful, that is like me. I always wanted to be very intense and I always wanted to be number one. I took it very seriously in my career. This is the same when I started body building, I didn’t want just be a body builder champion, I wanted to be the best body builder at all times. The same was in the movies. I didn’t want just to be a movie star but I wanted to be a great movie star and I wanted to be a highly paid movie star. This intensity always paid off for me, this commitment always paid off for me:-)

These are my rules:

The 1st rule is: TRUST YOURSELF.

trust yrself

What is most important thing is that you have to dig deep down, dig deep down and ask yourselves:

‘Who do you want to be?’

Not what but WHO?

arnold-schwarzeneggar-speech-who do u want to be

I am talking about not what your parents and teachers want you to be, but YOU. I am talking about figuring out for yourselves what makes you HAPPY. No matter how crazy it may sound to other people. :-)

So rule number one is, of course, trust yourself no matter how and what anyone else thinks. I was lucky when I grew up as I did not have so many destruction as you have today such as TV, telephone, computer, i-pad, i-pod, twitter, etc. I spent a lot of time by myself so I could figure out and really listened to what was inside my heart and my head. I recognised very quickly that I had the stronger desire to leave my little village and be part of something bigger where dreams could come true. :-)

Rule number 2 is: BREAK THE RULES.

break the rules

We have so many rules in life about everything. I say break the rules. No the law, but break the rules. It is impossible to be a maverick or a true original if you are too well behaved and don’t want to break the rules.

You have to think outside the box. That is what I believe.

After all, what is the point of being on this earth if all you want to do is be liked by everyone and avoid trouble?

The only way that I ever got anyplace was by breaking some of the rules.

Which, of course, brings me to rule number 3: DON’T BE AFRAID TO FAIL.

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Anything I have ever attempted, I was always willing to fail.  You can’t always win, but don’t be afraid of making decisions.  You can’t be paralyzed by fear of failure or you will never push yourself. You keep pushing because you believe in yourself and in your vision and you know that it is the right thing to do and success will come:-)

So don’t be afraid to fail.

Which brings me to rule number 4: DON’T LISTEN TO THE NAYSAYERS.

Arnold Schwazenneger Dont listen to the naysayers

How many times have you heard that you can’t do this, you can’t do that and it’s never been done before?

I love it when someone says that no one has never done this before, because then when I do it that means that I am the first one that has done it. So pay no attention to the people that say it can’t be done.

I always listen to myself and say: ‘Yes, you can.’ :-)

Yes you can

And that brings me to rule number 5, which is the most important rule of all: WORK YOUR BUTT OFF.

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I always believed leaving no stone unturned, Mohammed Ali, one of my great heroes, had a great line in the ‘70s when he was asked: ‘How many sit-ups do you do?’ He said, ‘I don’t count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting. When I feel pain, that’s when I start counting and that’s when it really counts.’  That’s what makes you a champion. And that’s the way it is with everything. NO PAIN NO GAIN:-)

Let me tell you, it is important to have fun in life, of course. But when you are out there partying, horsing around, someone out there at the same time is working hard, someone is getting smarter and someone is winning. Just remember that. :-)

If you want to cruise through life than don’t pay attention to none of these rules, but if you want to win, there is absolutely no way around hard, hard work.

None of my rules, by the way, of success, will work unless you do.

I have always figured out that there are 24 hours a day. You sleep 6 hours and have 18 hours left. I know that there are some of you out there that say well, wait a minute; I sleep eight hours or nine hours. Well. Then, just sleep faster, I would recommend. ‘Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.’ – L. Peter

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Just remember, you can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in the pockets:-)

And that takes me to rule number 6, which is a very important rule: IT’S ABOUT GIVING BACK.

GIVING BACK

Whatever path that you take in your lives, you must always find time to give something back, something back to your community, give something back to your state or to your country.

If you tear down the mirror that makes you always look at yourself, you will be able to look behind that mirror and you will see the millions of people that need your help. Let me tell you something, reaching out and helping people will bring you more satisfaction than everything else you have ever done.’ :-)

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I invite you to listen to the full inspirational speech by Arnold Schwarzenegger:-)

Personally, I believe that the last rule is the most important one. It has helped me to achieve most, if not all, of my successes in life. It has also gifted me with the most amazing satisfaction and accomplishments without forgetting that along the way I came to know so many remarkable people. Thank you for sharing my journey that made me a better person! :-)

VIV 2013

The only rule that I don’t agree 100% with Schwarzenegger is his most important rule: WORK HARD! I have been working very hard all my life, however in the last few years, I realised that whilst working hard is very important, working smarter is more efficient as it saves time and energy to enjoy the results of our own hard work :-)

I believe that the most important point that Schwarzenegger made in his speech is at the beginning where he said that his rules can be applied to everyone but everyone is not the same therefore you have to decide which rules to apply based on your personality. :-) In fact, I personally would have swapped some of his rules for others and added a few more, because these suit my personality more based on my experiences.

Remember that your personality and experiences will lead to your own rules to success as we are all amazingly unique and we all have different life journeys. :-) On this note, I wish to my dear Bro, all the happiness and success in the world as he truly deserves it on his special day! :-):-):-)

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Thank you for all the amazing moments and lessons learnt, the most important of which is learning to dance in the rain :-)

Dance-in-the-Rain

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain.’ – Vivian Greene

To your rules of Success :-)

Viv :-)