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!
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?
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.
STEP 1: Understand the Scope of your goal/plan
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
To the employment of your most successful strategy!