Strategic planning. What is it? In this blog, I'm going to share with you a simple definition of what strategic planning is and how it affects your life, your business, and ultimately your influence in the workplace.
Strategic planning is big-picture planning. If we zoom out of the current situation you find yourself in and look at the big picture, the overarching theme, the major outcome that you want to have from your life -- that would be the strategic planning initiative or the "big idea" as I like to call it.
We are all going to lean toward one way or the other. We are either going to be strategic, big-picture thinkers, or we are going to be more tactical, detail-oriented people. Few can do both at a high level very effectively. I myself am more of a big-picture thinker. I can see the big plan, the big idea, and so that means I have to surround myself with people that are detail-oriented, can really see the details and work on the details. Now let's be super practical with this as we think about strategic planning. I want to give you this definition and then we'll kind of bring it back to your business and your own personal influence.
In my life I have a goal, a strategic plan, a "big idea" you could say, about where I would like to be when I'm 90 years old. I want to be healthy, active and able to play with my grandkids or great grandkids. Because I've already got a 15-year-old, it will probably be great grandkids. But I want to be able to be active, that's the whole point. At 90 I want to be active. I want to be able to engage. I don't want to be stuck in a chair. I don't want to be immobile. So there are some things that I need to do, some actions that I need to take, some planning that I can do now. Now I can't control if I live that long, I could die today after this video. I could die a month from now. I could die at the age of 89 and not make it to 90. Who knows, right? Or I could live to 120 or 200 thanks to science - I don't know. The point is I can do what's in my power to get myself there.
So my strategic planning, my big picture thinking, my overarching idea is that I want to live to be 90 years old. Now I have to back up from there and I have to get into the details and recognize that there aren't many 90-year-olds who are walking around at 260 pounds with strong joints, right? So I've got to steadily continue to lose weight and lose mass so that I am a leaner person and my joints don't have to carry around that much weight. A body in motion stays in motion so I've got to stay active. I've got to exercise, I've got to make it a priority to walk or to run.
I've got to find a mentor, find someone who's living that dream. My definition of identifying a mentor is find someone that's living your dream and then take them to lunch. Or in this case, talking about health, take them to get some wheat grass or something. My example is my dad. He is almost 70 years old now (I hope he doesn't mind me sharing that publicly). But he's almost 70 years old and healthy, extremely active. He can play with his grandkids, swing them on the playground swingset, do whatever he wants to, and he has given me the roadmap for what I need to do. He's the oldest child in his family, but he's healthier than all his siblings. They probably really don't want me to say that, but it's true. He just is. He hasn't had any hospitalizations or surgeries. He's very healthy. Some of that is good fortune, and some of it is choices he's made. And in the last year he's decided to drop some weight because he recognizes that for overall health, to get to age 90 and be active, he has to drop some weight. He has to be leaner. He's always been good about his cardio and walking and staying active. And that's been a big part of his life.
So I have the roadmap, now I just need to execute on it. A few years back I was into lifting weights. My friends were into lifting weights, so four or five days a week we'd go to the gym and we'd pump some iron. I learned something about my body. I'm talking about strategic planning, talking about making modifications in life. And so I learned something about myself. As soon as I start lifting weight, I immediately just put on mass. I added 20 pounds in about three months. Not all muscle, but a good amount of it was muscle in my shoulders, in my chest. My shirts didn't fit anymore, I had to get bigger shirts because I was jacked. But...I went back to my plan of being 90 and healthy and active, and I realized if I kept going down that road, I could forecast. I could see strategically that if I kept going down that path, I'm would end up being bulky. I would be closer to 300 pounds just because of how my body likes to put on mass. I would be closer to that 300-pound mark than the 230-240 mark that I need to be at as I get older. So I immediately made a change and said, "Sorry guys, I can't lift weights now." I know people will comment. They'll say, "Hey, you've got to lift weights to lose weight." And I understand it. But I also know me and I know that when I stopped lifting weights and pushing against resistance, my body didn't take on as much mass anymore. And so I focused on my cardio and I was able to drop back down. I was able to maintain some breadth in the shoulders, but not all that mass that I was carrying.
So what am I saying? I'm saying that strategic planning, strategic thinking is looking at that big picture and then looking at my activities. And here's a question that I'd love for you to answer in the comments. Do your activities today line up with the vision that you have for your future? And if you don't have a vision for your future, if you don't know where you're going, where you're trying to go...you don't have to have it completely figured out - you can change it - but you've got to have a destination. You've got to be working towards something right now. If you don't, then you begin to die on the inside and you wonder, "What am I living for? What's this life worth living for if I just wake up, go to a job, go to bed, wake up..." What are you working towards? It might take your entire life to work towards it, but you've got to have a dream and a vision.
If you don't have a vision or you need to clarify that vision for your life, I have a resource for you that is completely free. I don't ask for your email address or anything. It's a webinar and includes a worksheet. It's in the description below and is called The Power of a Premade Decision. If you're lacking clarity in your vision for your life, do the training. It's a strategic planning session. It's the worksheet that I use with organizations when I do facilitation or coaching on how to get strategic about their business. I took it and I put it in an individual format and it's what I use with my coaching clients to help them get extremely clear on where they want to go. I have that available for you. It doesn't cost anything and I'm telling you, it will help you gain clarity on what you're good at and where you want to go in your life. Do your activities match up with your vision?
Now, why does this matter towards influence? What does strategic planning have to do with your influence? It's very simple: People follow people that have a plan. I listen to people, people on my team can influence me. They can influence me if they have a plan. People can sell me if they have a plan for how they're going to deliver the results. And I follow people, that have a plan to get me from where I'm at to a preferable future. If you want to increase your influence, you've got to begin to think more strategically. Have a plan, figure out where you want to go, write it out and make it plain. Make it simple. And if you do that, I promise you will increase your influence.
To access your free download, click on the “Influence Assessment” link below.
If you have questions about increasing your influence, please comment below and I will be happy to answer your questions.
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