Achieve Your Potential
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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Achieve Your Potential with Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning is an organization's process of defining its strategy or direction and making decisions on allocating necessary resources to implement the strategy. To me, it is about capturing a vision for the future and focusing on the essential strategies that would facilitate achievement of that vision. Whether you are an organization or an individual, planning is necessary for achieving your potential.

For the Individual

In my book The Promise of Potential I guide individuals through a process for achieving their personal vision: I AM, I NEED, I WANT, I WILL.

Focusing on a vision (I WANT) is what energizes and motivates us. Knowing we have the natural talents and gifts to achieve that vision (I AM) is what propels us to work towards our goal. Understanding the steps to strategically move forward (I NEED) is also necessary. But the commitment to action (I WILL) is where the rubber meets the road! These simple steps form a proven process for taking an individual from authenticity to action whereby they are motivated and magnetically drawn to a vision for what they most want.

For the Organization

I recently facilitated a strategic planning process for a highly successful community foundation. It was an amazing experience as I guided the 25-member board through a five-step methodology: Discover – Evaluate – Imagine – Choose – Focus. Our pre-work included understanding the organization’s history, current position, challenges and questions for the future (Discover). We also assessed strengths, competition, available resources and needs (Evaluate) and then we came together for our facilitated planning session where we visualized the future (Imagine). It was an amazing experience!

The excitement in the room was palpable as every member of the board began to see possibilities for their organization. No one worried “how we are going to get there;” instead the group bonded around a unifying theme for their future—a vision that motivated them to do the next critical steps in the process. They articulated and prioritized alternative strategies that could help them achieve their vision (Choose) and finally, they developed detailed action plans for the top priorities that would yield the biggest impact (Focus). The board left the session energized for the future and ready to roll up their sleeves to implement their plan.

What this reveals to us is that the organizational planning process we used was analogous to the course of action recommended for individuals. Defining what needs to be done and focusing on a commitment to action is imperative for both individuals and organizations. More importantly, both methodologies ignite possibilities and unleash motivation because they begin with a magnetic vision that draws people into the process and keeps them focused on the desired goal.

Planning for the future must be strategic, but it can also be simple. What do you want? What do you see in your future that would make you say “Yes! I want that”? If you can dream it, you can achieve it. Know who you are, know what you want…achieve your potential.

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