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Your Goals for Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning

I'm in the unusual position of working on the strategic planning of three separate organizations in the same month this month. Since every organization is in a different life cycle stage, each has slightly different goals for strategic planning. Yet there are certain outcomes which are fairly common to strategic planning.  Outcomes most organizations do - or should - aspire to. As I go through my list, think about your own goals for strategic planning.  Have I identified anything you … [Read more...]

The Difference Between Business Plans and Strategic Plans

Track and Field

Question: What’s the difference between a business plan and strategic planning? Answer: To some, there’s no difference, and both play a critical role.  But to me, it’s a difference in focus between planning  and action and strategic plans are the better choice when the goal is to get out of the starting gate and win the race. A full, formal business plan is great if you’re a start-up at square one, you’re going for funding or it’s a contractual mandate, or you’re at a major turning point. The process … [Read more...]

How to Grow Your Business

Key Performance Indicators

We're drawing closer to fall which for my business tends to be a busy time - a time of renewal as business owners and managers get back from summer vacations... and begin looking forward to Christmas vacation. I really got stuck on the idea of touching the pulse of as many savvy people as I could to really find out what the top issues are right now. So last week, I did something that seemed logical at the time - I asked the folks on my list a very simple question: What's the biggest challenge you're facing … [Read more...]

How to Survive on Fewer Resources


In a post started here, I asked you to respond to my reader's comments on their biggest challenge in growing their business. What I'd like from you: 1. Read through the responses. 2. Find one that you know how to solve, or for which you have a helpful suggestion. 3. Leave a comment with your answer. (Remember, you can post under an anonymous "name.") 4. If your response is on this list, check back here for what people suggested. Do More With Less Our clients have no budget for anything but the basics.  … [Read more...]

Strategic Planning in a Challenging Year

Bald Eagle

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of being the facilitator for Associated Builders and Contractors of Western Washington (ABC) at their annual Leadership Planning Conference in Blaine, WA, overlooking both the Pacific Ocean and the border of Washington state and British Columbia, Canada. It was a spectacular location, complete with incredible wildlife like the eagle in the picture above. But it also focused the spotlight on the importance of a rigorous, regular strategic planning process for any serious … [Read more...]

Strategic Action – From Horror to High-Performance

High Performance

If management consultants made horror films, most would somehow feature the theme of strategic planning gone lame.  Let me pitch an example flick and see if you’ll green-light me. After years of neglect, Acme Widgetry finally does it – they “get serious” and build a strategic plan.  It is a good plan full of good information and well-intentioned statements about priorities and what is important.  At great expense, the plan is copied, bound, and distributed to key personnel who each dutifully “install” the plan… … [Read more...]

Block and Tackle, But Know Your Goal

Goal Line

In a classic 1964 football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Viking Jim Marshall recovered a fumble and made an impressive 66 yard return all the way to the end zone.  Unfortunately, it was the wrong end zone, resulting in Marshall handing a free score to his competition when he threw the ball out of bounds. In business, we’re often told that when times get tough it’s a mistake to over-think. That instead, we should just drive hard to get the ball and push down the field at all costs, but not do … [Read more...]

Sabotage Your Business in Ten Easy Steps


The nice thing about cars is they’re predictable. Every model has its own quirks that tend to act up like clockwork, and any mechanic worth his salt can tell you what to look for.  I remember my 1987 Honda Accord (an otherwise exceptional vehicle) had a body joint below each tail light that, as if on cue, rusted out… right along with every other 1987 Honda Accord in the exact same spot. It’s the same with businesses.  Businesses tend to have very common cracks and crevices that expand and contract as the … [Read more...]