By: Jeremy Turner, MBA – Founder & Managing Director of EPIC Mission, Inc.
All too often I meet people who are operating under the assumption that the creation of an effective organizational strategy will cost them dearly from a financial perspective and will take more time and human resources to develop and implement than they have to spare. I believe this is because many coaches and consultants have made the process unnecessarily complicated as a means of justifying their fees while also seeking to create job security for themselves. As we wrap up this 4-part series, I’m going to share the simplest strategic formula possible.
Step 1: Cast a Vision
As clearly and with as much detail as you can, define and describe the future you wish to achieve. This isn’t public-facing, so there’s no need to get fluffy with the language. Incorporate your learnings from having gained empathy for those you serve to improve your chances of creating something meaningful which your customers will embrace.
Step 2: Status Quo
Keeping this newly-crafted vision in mind, where are you now in comparison? Are you well-prepared to begin pursuing your vision or is there much work to do before you can move forward? Be honest and perform a critical assessment, shedding the rose-colored glasses that too often blind organizational leadership.
Step 3: Eat the Elephant
Considering a new paradigm that lies in the distant future can be incredibly overwhelming, much like the old adage of trying to eat an elephant. Based on where you are versus where you’d like to be, take smaller bites of the elephant and determine what are the major milestones you will need to achieve along the way.
Step 4: Get SMART
Action items without hard edges are bullet points on a wish list. Leverage the SMART Goal methodology to turn your wish list into a strategic action plan by crafting a series of goals that are Specific, Measurable, Aggressive yet Attainable, Relevant & Realistic and Time-bound.
Step 5: Name the Obstacles
Plans and life never, ever match. Therefore, I believe it’s best to try and anticipate the obstacles you must overcome along the path to each goal. Know that you will never be able to forecast every roadblock, but by naming those that do come to mind, you will be much better prepared to pivot or iterate when life does throw you a curve ball.
Step 6: Resource Inventory & Acquisition
Familiarity breeds contempt, as the saying goes. As this relates to business, we too often become numb to the wonderful tools we have at our disposal and fail to imagine how they might be leveraged to their fullest. Take a fresh look at the human, financial, physical and technological resources you have readily available which can be deployed towards overcoming one or more of the named obstacles. Take your blinders off and be creative, keeping your mind open to inventive uses. If you still have resource needs, take note and move forward with resource acquisition as needed.
Step 7: Step Out
You will never get to where you’re going if you don’t take the first step. Delegate actions as needed and where able and allocate resources to overcome obstacles as they arise. Create forward momentum and celebrate the small victories along your journey.
Step 8: Embrace Imperfection
For some, the concept of planning is paralyzing because their mindset is one that operates under the belief that everything must be perfect before you can begin. Perfect is not a realistic human expectation and failure is often our best teacher. Success is a journey, not a destination.
Step 9: Course Correct
When mistakes happen or unplanned circumstances arise, stay calm, take inventory of the situation and correct your course. Understand going into this process that the idea that you will need to course correct at some point is a near certainty. If you can keep your head up and eyes open, you may just discover that you’ve stumbled upon something far better than you had planned. If not, get back to the Yellow Brick Road and executing your plan again as quickly as possible.
Step 10: Rinse & Repeat
Start over with this process at any time as you craft new goals or as environmental variables change which blow up your plan. Keep it simple and involve your team. Remember that you are not alone and that help is available. I will gladly review your plan for free and offer unfiltered feedback to help get you moving forward. Just reach out at your leisure. Always remember, together #WeAreTheChange.
Jeremy Turner is the Founder & Managing Director of EPIC Mission, Inc. a coaching and consulting firm for impact-driven entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and small businesses. As one of our valued referral partners, Jeremy and EPIC Mission, Inc. worked in collaboration with MD Andersen, CPA, PA this past month to bring you more information and topics to consider regarding strategy in the business world. To learn more about Jeremy Turner or EPIC Mission, Inc. please visit their website at https://yourepicmission.com/
You can also find his bio at https://mdandersencpa.wpengine.com/community-partners/