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When is the best time to start your strategic plan?

You’re probably inundated with news articles and television interviews about how the President-elect will begin his first 100 days, or how the current President is helping with the transition. Maybe you’ve also been getting emails from companies  you subscribe to about what they will be offering at their best end of the year prices or what’s in store for 2017.

That’s because it’s that time again! The time when leaders, business owners and nonprofit executives begin their review of the past year and begin to carve out a plan for the year ahead.

The best time to start your strategic plan is today. 

Those of you who follow me regularly know that a strategic plan is one of my 4 Elements for Success. I think it’s pretty difficult to move forward if you don’t have a plan or roadmap for what you will do to accomplish your goals. It’s helps to keep you focused on what’s most important and eliminates your tendency to follow every bright, shiny object that will max out your time or capacity.

There are a couple of ways I suggest you begin to craft your plan and I wanted to share them with you today.

1) Assess what worked so far:

Take some time to really look back at your income, expenses, return on those investments of time and money, programs, services, human capacity and customer or client satisfaction with your company or nonprofit. It takes some time, but it’s critical that you get feedback. Easy ways to accomplish this are free surveys online, meetings with key stakeholders or a random sampling of your client base, employee reviews or evaluations, meetings with bookkeeper or treasurer, etc. Think of all the information you need to make decisions next year and figure out a way to compile that information in the next couple of weeks.

2) The Best and the Rest:

Ask yourself these questions –

What worked best last year?

What do you wish you would have done but didn’t get around to implementing?

What would you do differently?

What do you want or need to let go of?

Use the answers to these questions and others that come up along the introspective process to formulate the list of things you want to make sure you do next year.

3) Connect to your core values

Do the things you accomplished this year fall within your core values? Are you aligned with what matters most to you? (If you haven’t had a values assessment, reach out and let me know. I can walk you through a process that will really help.)

4) Time and talents – Do you have all the human and financial resources you need to do what you want to do next year? If not, how can you put them in place at the right time in your plan?

5) Personal capacity and efficiency – Were you able to delegate appropriately and manage your time efficiently this year? What would you do differently? As you think about the coming year, are there areas or aspects of your work that you can delegate to someone this year? Or is there someone you can begin to develop to receive more of the share of the workload so you can focus on growth or more self care?  Who will take on each piece of the plan?

These are just a few ways in which you can get ready to create your actual plan.

Part two of this process is figuring out what buckets you need to put into your plan. We’ll talk about that in another post coming soon.

I’d like to share with you a recent webinar training I facilitated on strategic planning, which goes more in depth about how to create an effective plan and what accountability measures you can build in to your plan. Subscribe to my list on Facebook by clicking the “Sign Up” button or fill out the contact us form on this website. Once we get you signed up, I’ll send you a link that will bring you to this important webinar! It’s free and you can listen whenever you have the time!

As always, I am ready and willing to help you in whatever way I can. Some of my clients hire me to help them facilitate their initial plan, while some have me come periodically during the year to keep them on track. Whatever your needs, reach out if you’re ready to take the next step and create a strategic plan that ensures your most successful year yet!

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