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5 Steps to Solid Strategic Planning

You can't build toward your future if you don't know what you want it to look like.
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I recently had the pleasure of speaking with John Myrna about his new book The Chemistry of Strategy. We discussed what it means to have a strategy and why a strategic plan is differs from an operational plan.

Myrna defines business strategy as "knowing what you want to be in the future, where you are today, and what your annual strategic goals are, so that you'll change from who you are to who you want to become."

Your strategy must be set forth in attainable, measurable goals, which means being specific is a must. It's also important to know the difference between an operational goal, which by and large lives in the here and now, and a strategic one, which resides in the future. Here, Myrna shares five ways to implement a business strategy and carve your path to the future:

Make a pledge

Get together with your team and make a simple pledge regarding your goals. Say it aloud, together: "We commit to this plan." 

Gather your team

Meet with your executive council to manage this plan. When rounding out your team, keep in mind they must be able to visualize and help realize goals. They should intend on being there whether the goal is met or not, and they need to be diverse, both in experience and in passions. These are the people who will ensure your entire team buys into this plan, because a true strategic goal affects your whole company, from top to bottom. 

Outline a process

A good strategic plan isn't a one-day thing. It also has to be something that is scalable to your business and sustainable to your model.

Get everyone on board

Everyone needs to be on the same page, even if your opinions differ. You should not only form a consensus about the plan, but share a commitment to its execution.

Take action

Your team must leave each planning session with specific and measurable steps, not to mention a proactive mindset. Collectively, you should feel both impatient for action and willing to wait for achievement. Remember, your longterm strategic plan shapes your daily operational plan, not vice-versa. Think of this metaphor, "The most useful piece of a puzzle is the picture on the box." You can't build toward your future it you don't know what you want it to look like. 

To listen to my interview with John Myrna, click here.  

Last updated: Jun 3, 2014

TOM SEARCY | Columnist | Founder, Hunt Big Sales

Author, speaker, and consultant Tom Searcy is the foremost expert in large account sales. With Hunt Big Sales, he has helped clients land more than $5 billion in new sales. Click to get Searcy's weekly tips, or to learn more about Hunt Big Sales.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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