2020 seems so far away – but in reality it is less than 1600 sleeps. The future is always right in front of us . Our last Delfi Blog made the case for having a strategic plan and its importance in driving both personal and business success as the future unfolds. We suggested three initial changes in approach to getting a strategic plan in place for your personal life – or for your business: look for engagement of others; avoid starting with the traditional cement blocks of creating mission and vision statements; and focus more on the future than on the present or the past. Today I want to dig a little deeper and leave you with some thought-provoking questions – some about today – and some about tomorrow – that will get you started.
Starting with today – deepening our understanding of what we currently have – here are a few questions to get you sarted.
Now let’s turn our attention to the future. This is the most important part of the exercise. Change is no longer predictable – other than it will happen. The future is no longer a straight line change from the present or past. More often it is totally discontinuous – and hence much more disruptive to deal with. As an example, think of the potential impact of wear-able electronic instruments embedded under our skin or in our clothes. Would we ever need to go to a hospital again for a medical assessment ?? Do cell phones become obsolete ? CD’s recently did. So the question is ……….
You need to consider a wide source of these potential trends – the aging population (notice the unemployed teachers and boarded up schools), economics, buyer preferences, new materials, new technologies, new competitors, the wired generation that buys from a tablet.
After brainstorming a long list of these trends, you must now focus on those that have a direct relevance to your family – or to your business. The list must be significantly shortened to a small number of critical imperatives that you or your business must address – or you risk missing a huge opportunity – or ignoring a huge threat to your success.
This is also the time for the “wicked question” – What is this projected world of 2020 calling us to be? How is it calling us to be different than we are today. This is getting very close to your personal or business vision statement. This is the direction that you are being called in – and that you set for yourself as you drive ahead to a successful 2020. The mission statement for your business is simply that reason that your business exists – why customers need you. But vision is the calling that comes from the future.
This is a much better time to try crafting mission and vision statements – because you are anchoring them in the future rather than in the past or the present. And it is a much easier given all the work that you have done answering the questions above.
As a consulting firm, one of our major product lines is based on this strategic planning process – a process to help organizations orient themselves for their successful future. But please stretch these business questions into your personal and family life as well. They are just as relevant – and just as powerful.
Looking forward, there is huge truth in the saying that “A strategy or vision without a plan is delusional and quickly leads to an hallucination”. Our next Delfi Blog will wrap up this planning series with some thoughts on making the difficult transition from Vision to Action – or creating the operational plan to accomplish the strategy.
And remember – only 1600 more sleeps until 2020.