Look to the Past to Move Toward the Future

Whether involving a small team or a large organization, strategic planning requires a leader to keep everyone focused and moving in the right direction. But what, specifically, does this mean? How does a leader go about implementing and directing a strategic plan?

Begin by creating a vision and value statement:

First establish a value statement. Look at what the business does best. What are the values the organization operates under? A value statement is more than a moto. Evaluate the business’s history and record to determine if the business really does what it claims. What is its code of conduct? Does it put people or profits first? The value statement need not be long or complex. A simple phrase such as, “to build a company that treats customers with dignity” or “a business that treats its staff like family” effectively summarizes the atmosphere the organization aspires to.

The vision statement outlines the desired end goal of the business. It answers the question, “Where are we heading?” It is important to note that the vision statement is not the same as the mission statement. While the vision statement points toward the future, the mission statement explains why the organization presently exists.

Setting Objectives and Goals:

Just as one doesn’t teleport from point A to B, a business does not fulfill its vision without taking the necessary steps. A good leader evaluates the strategic plan to identify milestones along the way. This allows individuals and teams to work towards objectives bit by bit as opposed to becoming overwhelmed with the enormity of the end goal. Leaders do this through discipline and focus. Begin by answering these three questions:

  1. What do we do best?
  2. Who or what drives our business?
  3. What are the values of our audience?

A large part of strategic leadership involves having solid data that affirms the fulfillment of the goal. By establishing milestones, you have clear places to measure and evaluate how the strategic plan is unfolding, ensure resources are maximized, and adjustments made as needed. Be sure to include incentives that inspire and motivate others to reach the objectives. A good leader also ensures everyone has the resources needed to reach these milestones.

Evaluating Performance and Readjusting:

Evaluation may be measured through meetings, financial records, reports from team leaders, and more. When obstacles arise, use the information available through these evaluations to adjust the strategic plan as needed to continue moving toward the vision.  A good leader first identifies the problems by asking, “What is holding us back?” Consider a variety of options (whether your own ideas or input from others) for overcoming these challenges. Regularly pose the questions, “Where are we going? Are we on the right track to get there? Does this align with what we’re all about?

Character of a Leader:

Leaders are not appointed with a particular job title or promotion. A leader inspires followers through the qualities he or she exemplifies including trust and intention. Chuck Hunter and Stacey McKibbin use their diverse leadership experience to help businesses of all kinds develop and implement tailored strategies and solutions that awaken individual passion and drive. That passion extends from individuals, to teams, departments, and more to lift the entire organization to new heights. Ready to lead your business forward? Give us a call today!

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