Create Your Personal Strategic Plan in Six Steps
Many of us are guided by the vision, mission, goals and strategic priorities of a strategic plan in our workplace. We know that the development and execution of a strategic plan are critical factors in the success of an organization.
From my experience, a strategic plan is just as important at a personal level as it is at an organizational level – and creating one does not have to be a daunting endeavor.
I’m a planner by nature – I have a career plan, a financial plan, to do lists (and even a bucket list!) I suppose this love for planning is what drew me to my career as a consultant who helps organizations develop and execute their strategic plans.
Do you have a personal strategic plan to guide you? If not, read on to learn how this important tool can help drive your career forward, and help you achieve professional success.
Here’s how in six steps:
1. SCAN your current situation – set aside some time to reflect on where you are in your life today. Ask yourself:
Are you satisfied with the way things are going in your work and life right now?
If you were to have a conversation with your coach or mentor one year from today, what would have happened during the year for you to tell this person you felt satisfied?
What activities in your work and life do you want to do more of? Less of?
What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
What can you do further enhance your strengths? Shore up your weaknesses?
What opportunities are on the horizon – or what opportunities can you create?
What will happen if you don’t take advantage of or create these opportunities?
Once you've answered these questions, find the overlapping themes and consolidate them to 4-5 key learnings that these answers point to.
2. ARTICULATE your personal vision, mission, and values – write these down, in a precise and meaningful way. Follow these definitions as you do so:
Vision: Your preferred future, written as if you are already there. Make it attractive, credible, and realistic. Your vision will serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action. For example, Oprah Winfrey’s personal vision statement is, "To be a teacher…known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be."
Mission: Your purpose – describes what you do, day in and day out to achieve your vision. For example, CEO of Campbell Soup Company, Denise Morrison’s, personal mission statement is, "To serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference."
Values: Your core beliefs that guide your behavior. For example, they could be “Creativity, courage and compassion”.
3. DEFINE your priorities – a handful of “I must” statements that will help you achieve your vision in the context of your mission. Be certain that these statements are in line with your values. For example, “I must consistently challenge myself to show up as a leader.”
4. ALIGN your actions to these priorities by developing an action plan that supports your priorities – make sure to be a specific as possible: What will you do? By when? How will you know when you’ve achieved an action? Be sure to review your plan and make sure it’s realistic for you. For example, a tactic aligned with the “I must” statement above could be, “Lead an agenda item, in collaboration with my team, on my organization’s next quarterly all staff meeting to present an update on a project of strategic importance to highlight how my team and work unit can help with the work of other teams and work units.”
5. EXECUTE your personal strategic plan! As management guru Peter Drucker said, “Plans are only good intentions until they immediately degenerate into hard work”.
6. MONITOR your progress – check in on your personal strategic plan regularly, and course correct where necessary. Ask yourself:
Which actions are on track, which ones need attention, and which are off track?
Are you tracking to achieve your priorities?
Do important life events require you to make any changes?
And remember to celebrate your successes!
Invest some time in these six steps and you’ll create (and execute) an effective personal strategic plan that helps you achieve success … as you define it.
As Jim Collins wrote, “The real path to greatness, it turns out, requires simplicity and diligence. It requires clarity, not instant illumination. It demands each of us to focus on what is vital—and to eliminate all of the extraneous distractions.”
To find out more about how to build your own strategic plan, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org