Strategic Planning for Strategic Success

Strategic planning sounds so high-level corporate, it may feel like the individual financial services professional may not need to engage in a strategic planning process, but nothing could be further from the truth. Businesses and organizations of all sizes need a plan. Although I run my own business I regularly focus on developing and implementing a strategic plan. If you aren’t sure how to do that for yourself, here are the exact steps I follow. If it resonates with you, go ahead and use it!

Step 1: Carve out time on the calendar for a full day away from the office at a location that inspires me.  (A new or different environment usually inspires different productive ideas.)  I usually find myself someplace with a view of the beach or in the mountains for this process.

Step 2: Gather supplies and arrive the night before to get settled, have a great night’s sleep and start my retreat refreshed. I use a large Post It pad with color sharpies to write out my notes during the day.

Step 3: Wake up early, go for a walk and have a wonderful breakfast that includes a hot cup of very good coffee.

Step 4: Create an intention for my Strategic Planning Retreat.  Here I look at and clarify what I want as the outcome for the day.  

Step 5: Examine my existing goals, what I achieved and have yet to achieve, and set new goals for a specific time period.

Step 6: Determine a plan for how to reach my new goals:  looking at what I need to do differently to reach my new goals and how I will implement the new strategy.  I look at whatever it is that I want to make happen over the course of the next year and plan for it happening.

Step 7: Focus on the details that need to unfold to accomplish the desired results. I look at what I need to start implementing and create a list of what can be delegated.

Step 8: Next, I look at potential challenges I might experience on my way to reaching my goals and determine a game plan to eliminate them.

Step 9: Lastly, I tune into my mindset.  Am I feeling confident about the goals that I have set and the strategies that I have created?  I look at what needs to happen to turn up the volume so to speak on my level of confidence about the overall plan and make those adjustments as well, using Neurolinguisitic Programming or NLP, a study of how the brain works. (I am a Master Certified NLP Practitioner and use it often for myself and my clients.)

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