Steps for Strategic Planning

THE JOURNAL RECORD, October 1, 1997 | Go to article overview

Steps for Strategic Planning


Strategic business planning requires analysis, but beware of analyzing the devil out of your business.

You don't have time in today's competitive world to do that. Every one of you probably has a fairly good understanding of your competitors. You probably have a fairly good knowledge of the industries in which you operate. And you probably have a good idea of the forces that can impede you. Don't spend too much time gathering and analyzing esoteric information.

Because you are the catalyst of your company's strategic planning process, any knowledge-gathering attempts must include a strategic evaluation of where and who you are, where and what you want to be and what is needed to get you there. This involves three steps: 1. Self-evaluation -- In the same way that a business involved in strategic planning must first undergo an analysis of its strengths and weaknesses, you, too, should analyze your own strengths and weaknesses. Self-evaluation consists of identifying your aptitudes, basic personality and interests. Your achievement will be greater if you perform in the areas of your greatest aptitudes -- provided that those activities are compatible with your basic personality and interests. You are much more likely to attain your vision if you make maximum use of your natural abilities and avoid your weaknesses. This may be one of the most difficult realities for a business owner to face. It is the nature of a catalyst leader to get so absorbed with an idea that his or her intrinsic capabilities are not analyzed objectively or accepted with an open mind. 2. Personal vision and goals -- What do you really want out of life? Be true to yourself. What are your life goals? What do you feel deep in your soul? You will work in the most focused and dedicated way to attain that which you truly desire. If you detect an unwillingness on your part to expend additional energy into your business, go with your gut feeling. Listen to what you are telling yourself. Too many businesspeople get caught up in the push to grow their companies and wind up miserable. How often have you heard successful entrepreneurs and professionals say that if only they had it to do all over again, they would take more time for themselves? Of course, it is much easier to say something of that nature once you have achieved your goals, but those who are still on the road to success should take note. …

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