December 31st, 2005 10:29 EST
Solid Strategies Lead to Solid Success
Solid strategies lead to solid success. Even the greatest ideas are of little value unless they are backed up by practical and workable plans of action.
Setting up a good strategic plan involves six steps:
(1) Create a vision. Decide where you want to go and what you want to be. Make it a vivid picture that you can keep constantly before your mind`s eye.
(2) Translate your vision into measurable and achievable goals. Decide what you want to accomplish during the next five to ten years. Next, break down these long-term goals into intermediate goals -- things you want to accomplish during the next six months or year. Then break these into short-term goals covering the next month or six weeks.
(3) Break your goals into achievable objectives. Objectives add purpose and direction to all your activities.
(4) Set up strategies " the specific ways you will go about achieving your objectives.
(5) Choose each task you must complete each day to achieve your goals. Build each task into your schedule, committing yourself to spend so many hours every working day on specific actions that will lead to your objectives.
(6) Build in monitoring mechanisms to help you keep track of your progress toward implementing your plan. Look for a few key indicators that will help you stay on track, and monitor those like a doctor would monitor the vital signs of a patient. For instance, if your target is to contact three people each day to generate new business, at the end of the day, you`ll know whether you have achieved that goal.
That plan can`t work until you`ve communicated it satisfactorily to every person in your organization who has a hand in implementing it. Here are some guidelines to help you do this:
(1) Involve others in formulating the plan.
(2) Clearly identify roles and expectations.
(3) Make sure everyone understands all deadlines and schedules.
(4) Don`t rely on gimmicks for motivation. Let the plan itself provide the incentives. If it`s built around the strengths and personal motivations of the people who must execute it, and has its own built-in rewards, motivation will take care of itself.
(5) Get feedback to make sure people understand exactly what you expect. Don`t ask, Does everyone understand the plan? " Say, Tell me what you understand the plan to be and how you see yourself fitting into it. "
If you follow these guidelines, you`ll be on track toward success.
Comment on this story, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or join the SOP friend network with your Google, Yahoo, AOL, MSN or one ID account located on the front page of www.thesop.org.