Anne Stuckey

How to make strategic planning a treat

I live in a neighborhood that likes to decorate. We put holiday swag on street signs, we vote for the best decorations in December (daytime and nighttime), and this time of year, we have skeletons, bats, and spiderwebs littering our yards. It’s the most visible indicator that 2018 is winding down: turkeys and reindeer will land soon, and then 2019 will be here.
 
Outside of my neighborhood, businesses are performing an equally spooking ritual: reviewing this year’s strategic plan, and setting a new one for 2019. The story that we often hear is frightening: a high-level plan was set, then set aside in favor of urgent issues, and now, a year later, the cobwebs are being dusted off, with very little progress made.
 
This Halloween, we at HoneIn have a dare for you: create a strategic plan that you can actually execute.
 
I know it sounds like a trick, but if you keep three key tenants in mind, it will be a treat!
 

Concrete

In order to execute a goal, it needs to have a concrete target, so you know what you’re working towards – and when you’ve achieved it. Think about it – if your goal is to collect a bunch of candy this Halloween, what does that actually mean? Is a lot 10 pieces? 50? More than your brother? Will you keep trick-or-treating all night, slowly turning into a candy-crazed zombie?
 
Let’s use the only logical goal as our example: getting more candy than your brother.
 

Actionable

Now that you have a clear target in mind, it’s time to define the actions you can take to achieve that outcome. If you want to get more pieces of candy than your brother, you have to take action to make that happen. You could trick-or-treat in your neighborhood and your friend’s neighborhood. You could keep going when he stops for the night. Or, you could do nothing – but you won’t get more candy than your brother.
 

Trackable

At the end of the night, you want to be certain that you got more candy than your brother – I get it. Because you can count candy at the end of the night, you’ll be able to clearly see who got more. But you don’t just want to track the progress of your objective at the start and the end. If you watch how much candy he is getting and how much you are getting, you’ll know if you’re on track to win – and you can change your actions if needed. That way, you aren’t wasting time in a neighborhood without much candy while he is riding a sugar-high down a candy-dense street.
 
Now that you have a mountain of Halloween candy, it’s time to think about your business goals for next year. Remember to make sure they are concrete, actionable, and trackable, and 2019 will be a treat.