There are several best-selling books, fantastic speaker,s and video and tape programs on the market for what is traditionally called goal-setting. Ironically, we distinguish between goal-setting and strategic planning as if they are two separate animals. Napoleon Hill's book Think and Grow Richis one of those books that sits on the fence as to whether is it a business book or a personal book.
In business, management seldom tends to marry the two as a method of developing its employees or its company objectives. Moore's law dictates that technology will double in speed every 18 months. If this is true the traditional method of annual review of strategic objectives for some firms lacks the ability to keep pace with change. When the annual business plan was first developed it was at a time when business moved quickly but not at the pace of today's technology. You waited for mail that included the PO or proposal. Time was based on how quickly decisions could be made. Today you can talk a person through your web site, and decisions can be made via email in minutes.
As for strategic planning, Napoleon Hill seemed to be more on target than most strategic thinkers. For those who are unfamiliar, Andrew Carnegie requested that Napoleon study what made leaders successful, which he did for over 20 years before he wrote his book. Hill had access to some of history's greatest inventors and businessmen from Albert Einstein to Charles Schwaab, due to this connection. In several pages, unmatched by others, he outlines a few basic steps to making your vision, strategic plan, or vision come true for both personal and corporate goals. Here's a modification as it suits the business environment:
1. A company must have its goals written down. Everyone associated with the goals must want them or be willing to follow those who do.
2. Each step must be dated. By what date will you have accomplished your plans? When driving on a long trip, we check where we are against where we think we ought to be, using gauges, road signs and our watches. We need to do so in business, also, to inform us of our progress.
3. Post the goals for others to see. This is not a secret. If no one knows where the organization, group, or team is going, how can they get there? The more employees feel "in the dark," the less likely they are to follow your lead with 100% zeal.
4. View your strategic plan daily. Not quarterly, not yearly, but daily. Are you on track? Are the decisions you are making today in line with your objectives? It's surprising what one can accomplish if they're informed. When we play sports, we check the time left in the game or check the score often. In some sports, the score is even announced as it happens, keeping us motivated.
5. Modify your direction if need be. There is nothing wrong with realizing that due to the "rapid" (or what we call "rapid" today) changes in our economy, we, too, must adapt as quickly as Moore's law.
6. Repeat step one.
A clear strategic planner can paint a picture that everyone can believe in or follow. Keep everyone motivated as well as informed of your progress. Employees are looking to be a part of the team as they ask, "What's in it for me." Help them reach their goals and you will reach yours.
© MM David & Lorrie Goldsmith
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